I don’t like the word SURVIVOR; matter of fact, I have a deep aversion to it.
Why is this word used to define those of us with stage IV breast cancer? Why is it even used to describe people who have been treated for earlier stage bc?
When I think of the word, I think of concentration camp survivors or survivors of other persecutions. These people lived through unspeakable horrors, escaped death and continued to move forward. I haven’t earned this word and, frankly, it just doesn’t fit.
I am not a survivor of bc. To put it bluntly, unless the proverbial bus hits me, I will die of bc. Yeah, yeah, yeah, cancer is an internal masochist and like you all, I need to treat it as the enemy in order to live but I am still LIVING. Survivor implies completion and finality.
I also wonder if the rampant use of the word survivor has lulled all involved in bc – patients, researchers, doctors, pharma companies and bc organizations into a false sense of complacency. If we are all survivors then why do we need to do more? What justification is there to fund more research and to push for more treatments? I want the public at large, to see me as I am – a woman trying to control a deadly disease as long as possible. I am living until I am dying.
What do you think?