My mother survived cancer.
This is an accurate statement, but putting it in the past tense always makes me a little nervous, because for me the word is never a complete process…, but an ongoing one. In the context of cancer treatment and care, this word has a misleading connotation. It suggests that, like walking away from a car-accident, you can draw a point on the time-line of any life that has that moment of cancer now behind you.
Even though she is medically cancer free now, and has thankfully been fully discharged, it feels to me like there is no end to the struggle with this disease on some levels. Surviving this disease is a battle that doesn’t just fade away into memory. I find that I regularly recall, when I look at my mother, that on a certainly level her body continues to fight. That can be a scary thought in some ways, but it also means that being a cancer survivor is, each day, a bigger achievement than the most incredible of car-crash survival stories.