Friday, October 3, 2008

Thriving, Not Surviving

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.


Terri Sterk said...

Hi Pat, I enjoy your blog and also choose to thrive after my own hormone negative breast cancer diagnosis. I am celebrating five years cancer free, and honor my cancer and am grateful for the freedom I feel having attained this awesome milstone. I sat at your table at the October 3 survivor lunch. I do recall making the thriver comment. I wish you continued good health.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Terri: Great to hear from you! I do love the thriver concept. People with or without cancer should benefit from that perspective. It was great talking with you last week. take care. Pat