I have always struggled with the word survivor. At what point did I become a cancer survivor? Was it the day that I met with my MGH team to come up with a plan, was it the day that chemo ended, the last radiation treatment, the breast reconstruction?
At a quarterly check up a few months ago, I asked my oncologist about this—at what point did I become a survivor? Her response was quick and poignant. She said the day I was diagnosed was the day that I became a survivor. Survivorship for me is about getting on with life, about integrating my cancer experience into my life experiences in the way that is right for me. My cancer involved a lot of people—my parents, my husband, my kids, my friends—but it was—and still is—a very personal experience. We all deal with survivorship in our own ways, and my way is to give back to MGH and the cancer community where I can, but otherwise, getting on with life—cooking dinner for my kids, going on runs, chatting with friends and family. Survivorship is about living life.