Shifting Focus: Survivor vs. Living Being

Last updated: October 2020

When you survive a life-threatening disease like cancer, there is a transition period where patients learn how to incorporate that experience into their lives moving forward. For me, survival was a mixed bag of emotions. I felt a sense of intense optimism and gratitude that I believed could help champion people to survival. But soon, I was grounded by the reality that not every story ends like mine. My optimism quickly developed a dark undertone that followed my survival everywhere I went.

How could I feel sad or angry about anything when I felt like it was a privilege just to be alive? Sometimes things don’t seem so bad when you have the perspective of a life-threatening sickness, but experiencing this guilt is part of the challenge of survivorship.

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