A sword and shield collecting cobwebs with a laptop open on a desk

I'm Not a Survivor

Since writing for this site, I think I have become a bit more reflective on me, myself and I.  Today, when making my breakfast, for some unknown reason the following popped into my head:  I’m not a survivor.  I don’t resonate with being a survivor.  Because my diagnosis was never going to kill me.

This might be why I’m so anti all the ‘accepted’ language around cancer, which I know I’ve written about before and how much I hate it.  It might all be because of never having to worry about dying from my diagnosis.  It wasn’t a ‘bad’ one.  It’s highly treatable.  So I’ve never ‘fought’ it.  And when people associate me with being a survivor I have a knee jerk reaction in my head of NOOOOOOOOOOO THAT’S NOT ME!!!!!  And I think that’s why. I haven’t had to survive.  I’ve just kept on living. Kept on moving forward.

Cancer doesn't define me

I also think that I've been so determined, and don’t get me wrong, I by no means think that others aren’t, and this isn’t to take away from what others are going through.  My writing is entirely selfish.  It’s about me and how I feel and what I go through.  I would never try to write any other way.  To attempt to put into my words how others feel is not my place or my role.  That’s for them if they want to. 

So, being determined means that I won’t let my cancer, being chronic, and it being a part of my life for a third of it define me and my life.  To be all of it.  If I was a "survivor," that to me means that I spend all my time focusing on it and my treatment and my health.  And I don’t.  I don’t worry about my bloods or my leukaemic rate or what’s happening at a biochemical level. I just hope and assume it’s all ok.  That the chemo is working.  That I don’t get horrific fatigue.  That I can carry on.  So I don’t survive.  I live, which to me is very different.  Always glass half full, never glass half empty.

Looking ahead to treatment decisions

That might all change, of course, if I have a transplant.  I’m 5 days into the new drug, and so far, it seems to be ok!  I haven’t had a massive energy crash.  Yes, I’m tired today but I have been really busy this week and as I haven’t been as exhausted as normal, I have definitely been going to sleep too late.  But I’ve made it through the week ok!   Tired is different to fatigue.  Tired is manageable.  I still feel like me, so I’m really hoping that this might continue and it’s not going to get progressively worse, and maybe just MAYBE I’ve found a drug that suits me.  I know that if this is the case, my consultant will probably be absolutely ecstatic!

Time will tell.  But I’m hopeful.  Well, I’m very rarely not.  It’s only when it’s really bad that I lose my hope.

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