My Cancer Story

When are you Considered a Survivor?

Once I completed my chemotherapy and the worst part of my nightmare was over, I thought about being a survivor.  You often hear a person say something like, “I am a 5-year survivor”, but then it occurred to me, when am I technically considered a breast cancer survivor?  What marks the first day as a survivor?   Was it the day I had the lump removed?  Was it the day I had my last chemotherapy treatment?   Will it be when all of my surgeries are done including the reconstruction?  Or is it something entirely different? 

I went out on the web and started searching.  The general school of thought was that once you find out you have breast cancer you are considered a survivor.  That seemed completely ridiculous and counterintuitive to me!  In my mind, when I found out I had cancer, that just made me a woman with breast cancer, not a survivor.  However, I found a number of web sites that said that though this is the common school of thought, it is a personal decision as to when you mark the beginning of your survivorship.  I liked that answer much better.

I thought about it.  For me, it certainly was not the date I found out I had cancer, so strike that off the list first.  And it wasn’t the end of chemotherapy (though surviving it was heroic!) because I technically didn’t have cancer when I went through the chemotherapy; it was adjuvant therapy.

Then I made my decision….the day my body was rid of cancer was the day I had my lumpectomy – that was the day I was going to go with.

So I have been a breast cancer survivor since September 28, 2012!

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