I’m here to tell you it’s not easy carrying around the label cancer “survivor.” Leroy used to hate that word “survivor” because he always felt it carried so much weight with it.
If you were a “survivor” you had to walk the walk of success: YOU beat the beast. YOU were somehow luckier than the person next to you in the infusion room for all those months, they didn’t make it, YOU did.
He used to say, I didn’t fight any harder. We both wanted to live. Leroy was a “survivor” for 4 1/2 years until his cancer showed it’s face in the form of a colon cancer brain tumor. He felt fine, until he didn’t. That’s when he said, “I guess I’m not a “survivor” any more.
It had gotten to the point where he stopped wondering on a regular basis if his cancer would ever come back. That’s what so many cancer “survivors” do, you know, they wake up in the morning wondering if this is the day cancer reenters their life.
So this was the day, three cancer “survivors” I know talked about how much they think about their cancers coming back.
All three are under regular surveillance in the form of check-ups every three months. One just had a scan that showed an active lymph node. Another had a blood test that had an elevated reading and the third is back in cancer world after the discovery of a new tumor.
All three “survivors.” Two of the three still fit the definition and hopefully those test results will prove to be signs their immune systems are working to fight off any new invasion.
And as many times as their doctors and nurses and families and friends can say “don’t worry,” I’m sure it’s nothing, believe me, “It’s something to them.” They will wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it.
Damn Cancer. Being a “survivor” is half the battle.