Sunday June First is Cancer Survivor Day. Right in between Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Proms, Weddings and Graduations is the little known outside of the world of cancer a holiday to celebrate survivorship. How appropriate. Cancer is the disease that can just occur in your busy life. Sandwiched between growing up, working on you career, enjoying your family and life, or expecting to retire, you are given the diagnosis of Cancer.
Cancer is the big ‘C’. Cancer attacks your body and you are at war and the optimum outcome is to become a survivor. Even the most nurturing, kindest oncologists become generals in the battle against cancer. First they usually send in the surgeons to remove and dissect. Then they plan the next attack. An assault of radiation to kill in a planned zone, or send in the big guns, chemotherapy, to kill and destroy all living masses is decided. Cancer is a sneaky enemy and if thought to be lurking, a multi phase plan of attack is issued using all resources available to oncologists.
Casualties and collateral damage occur like in any war. Neuropathy, heart valve damage, impaired vision, mobility and dexterity issues, bone loss, and of course death can occur. But if you don’t die, you are a survivor. You have beaten the big ‘C’, at least for now. Some cancers are not curable.
Last week a good friend called me to tell me she heard the ‘c’ word. Cure is the small ‘c’ in the world of cancer. It is word we don’t hear that often. She had, (notice past tense), ovarian cancer. She won the war. She is cured. She was lucky she was diagnosed early with the cancer, and now 5 years later, after a full assault, she is lucky again to hear that word, ‘cured’!
Breast Cancer, my cancer, with all the awareness, celebrity and glamour status and wonderful fund raising walks and events, has no cure. For many of us who have survived the battle, we are still hoping to win the war.
Happy Cancer Survivor’s Day.
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