Thursday, October 11, 2012

The S-Word

I promised to blog about this recently and forgot (because of chemobrain/fibrofog - now I have two things to blame) but I was reminded yesterday. I am at a cancer related meeting for a couple days in Virginia. It is full of women who have had breast cancer. They all used the S-word to describe themselves. I did not.

I really dislike the S-word. It is a label. Is it supposed to give someone a false sense of hope to hang on - that they too can survive their cancer diagnosis? Ha! It does nothing for me.

In my life, I have survived MANY doctor appointments. I have survived EIGHT surgeries. I have survived several 'interesting' plane flights. defines Survivor as:
  1. a person or thing that survives
  2. Law . the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.  
  3. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
In no way does  it include the word cancer in pertaining to surviving.  If I use definition #3, function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks. Cancer might be considered a hardship - especially while in treatment. Opposition I think of in more of a societal or political context. Setbacks are job loss, or something like that. 
Cancer is a disease. So is the flu and the common cold. Do you get to be called a survivor if you recover from the flu? Then there is that stupid 'Survivor' TV show. Where is the correlation between having cancer and winning the tv show? 

Perhaps the whole term is slightly over used. If everyone is a survivor, no one is because we are all equal. So stop sticking it on people who have a cancer diagnosis. It doesn't make me feel all warm and perky inside because I have a label.

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