I attended a breast cancer survivor’s luncheon today, met a good group of women, and had a surprisingly lively conversation about chemotherapy, oncologists, wigs, and how it feels to be a survivor. Many of us, though, object to being called survivors. “I’m a thriver,” one woman said. I like that. It’s active rather than passive. I can choose to thrive, but calling me a survivor only means I didn’t die.
“Hi, I’m Pat. I’m not dead.”
My friend Diane says she hopes that, of all the dimensions that define her, the fact that she is alive should not be at the top of the list. It’s great, and she likes it, of course, but she’s also smart, accomplished, thoughtful, witty, loving.
Still, when you get cancer, you’re awfully aware of your mortality and you don’t take being alive for granted.
But you want to. The way you did when you thought other people got cancer, not you.