National Cancer Survivors Day

Today is National Cancer Survivors Day and you will be shocked to hear that I have some feelings about this day.

On one hand, I see the value in celebrating survivorship. I have benefited from the visibility of other survivors, and I’ve been told by others that being transparent with my story has helped them. Hope, when paired with a healthy dose of pragmatism, is a valuable tool when facing a diagnosis. I think talking about cancer openly removes some of the fear and misinformation. Cancer doesn’t always mean a death sentence.

But sometimes cancer is a death sentence and celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day feels a bit itchy and uncomfortable when I start to think about all the people who aren’t here today, who don’t get to call themselves a survivor, who receive the unfortunate label of “lost their battle with *insert type of cancer here*.”

This post by Lisa Bonchek Adams is forever etched on my heart, especially this line:

When I die don’t say I “fought a battle.” Or “lost a battle.” Or “succumbed.”

Don’t make it sound like I didn’t try hard enough, or have the right attitude, or that I simply gave up.

Today I’m thinking about my fellow members in this crappy club no one wants to be a part of, and remembering those who would give anything to be part of this club if it meant one more day with their loved ones.