I come into the realm of survivorship in a curious place: An expert in the lived experience of my illness, but not yet an expert in the geography of long term survivorship. You and me readers, we figured out the first five years together, and now we are cartographers on a more grave mission, to chart the course from years six through ten.
Whatever it is that each of us is facing, we don’t need perfect clarity to take the next, best step. Sometimes our thoughts drive our actions, and sometimes our actions drive our thoughts. A reflection on five years of survivorship. #BTSM
Maybe you’re not a liability at all; instead, your marginalized status give you perspective that those in the center would never achieve without you.
“No evidence of recurrent disease” may soothe the thinking brain, but what cancer patients are feeling cannot be healed with words on a page, but only through comfort and safety for our bodies.
Patients are told not to throw in the towel, don’t lose hope, hold out for the miracle, but when we frame cancer survivorship by a relentless battle, we award the wrong priorities. Instead we should celebrate reconciling the plans that we had for our lives with the reality that we may need to adjust our goals. Maybe the miracle is not the life saving treatment breakthrough, but instead, it is the breakthrough of fresh perspective that asks honestly, “How would I like the completion of my life to look?” And not, “What I can possibly do to extend it?”