Today is Cancer Survivor Day. And like millions and millions of others, I am one of those survivors. In fact, this year marks my 27th Cancer Survivor Day.
These occasions are always a day of mixed feelings for me, because of those that do not get to celebrate with us today. So it is important, that we do not lose the fact, that so many people were able to defy the odds, and beat their cancer. Decades ago, cancer was an automatic death sentence. Even back in the 1980’s when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the cure was not guaranteed.
For many of us, who were treated with such harsh treatments decades ago, have found ourselves fighting an ironic fight, fighting the side effects from the treatments that cured us. We traded one fate with death, for another. But because of us long term survivors, recent cancer patients are now treated with lower dosages with the same results, or even new medicines or therapies all together. And as reported in the current issue of CURE magazine, the risks of late side effects for newer survivors is on the decline. This is great news!
You may hear many of us say that we “do not want cancer to define us,” but in reality, it is unavoidable.
My battle with Hodgkin’s, along with the many serious late effects that I have to deal with, some on a daily basis, have taken “survivorship” to a whole new level. From the day I finished my treatment, I learned that I will no longer pick my fights or challenges. I will take each and every one with the same ferocity as I did my cancer battle. I will take on employers, public figures, and have done so, with the frame of mind, “you will not beat me.”
And if there is anything I want people to know about me… I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!