When my mother got lung cancer, I wanted Survivor to become her new title, her latest achievement. I was convinced she’d “beat” this thing and we’d come out afterwards, advocating for others. Maybe we’d walk 5Ks together and talk about how she’d defeated cancer…
That’s not what happened.
In 3 short months, my mother’s cancer grew. Despite the best doctors, the best medicine, despite her will to live and her “fighter” instinct, it grew and then it took her life.
Webster’s dictionary says the opposite of survival is to yield, to be defeated. My mother didn’t yield. Like most cancer patients, she fought with every healthy cell, but the cancer cells were stronger. There was no defeat. No failure. Just powerlessness. And then death.
So, no. She did not become a cancer survivor. But I did.
I survived my mother’s cancer and I do what we would have done together. I advocate. I run 5Ks. I talk about how cancer took her life and changed mine. I’m friends with people who are surviving this disease and I do what I can so that more people will survive. And although I can’t see or touch her or hear her voice today, her spirit inspires and encourages me every day. She lives on, through me.