There… I Said It!
It’s funny how a simple Facebook post got me to finally say “survivor” after all this time.
A few weeks ago, I published an entry talking about how I believed I was finally nearing a point where I would be comfortable applying the term survivor to myself. When and how a patient chooses to use the term remains a highly personal issue. I knew I was getting close, but I surprised myself this past Saturday when I posted an update to Facebook as part of my travels with PCF’s Home Run Challenge. It included a photo of Joe Torre and me. I wrote:
The 18th Annual Home Run Challenge to Keep Dad in the Game begins. I am honored to know and have opportunities to work with Joe Torre… Baseball great…, terrific guy…, supporter of the cause… and, above all… fellow survivor.
It wasn’t until about an hour later, as I was watching the Phillies game, that I realized what I had done. I went back to that Facebook post and stared at it for a while. I felt a tremendous weight lift from my shoulders as a smile spread across my face. Survivor… I had said it and it was as natural as using my name. My cancer’s sound barrier was broken.
Yes, I still have numerous quarterly blood draws and visits to the oncologist ahead of me. And, it’s a full two years until I reach the magical five year milestone. But, for the first time ever, I actually see it and believe it will happen. It feels great!
As I look back on the past three years, I realize I’ve learned several important lessons. Life doesn’t always go as we imagine it would. But we need to go with its flow, acknowledge our blessings and balance them with the challenges we are given. I’ve learned to accept the love and support of others without restriction and to give it without expectation. And, I’ve learned to embrace life as easily as I was ready to accept death.
Life is a river and we are leaves on its currents.
I remain ever grateful to my dear MaryEllen, my sons, family and friends who helped me weather the storm. Thank you for wanting me to be alive and with you. Yes, I heeded the call to believe and you have another survivor among you.