20120103-184749.jpgI do not pretend to know what it is like, but I think I am gleaning what troubles Liz about the use of the classification of her as a “survivor”.

Liz has what is presently an incurable form of brain cancer. Someday we hope a cure will be found but unless and until that occurs Liz has cancer. It is controlled sufficiently so that she can live a relatively normal life. She works, exercises, loves, engages with others, and frankly has a remarkable life. But her life is subject to a daily fear of a fall down the stairs, the inability to hit her mouth with her toothbrush, a seizure, the interruption of her health insurance, a look from someone who seems to pity her, an MRI showing her residual tumor has changed, etc., etc., etc. This is not surviving cancer but learning how to live with it each and every day. Surviving something means to she and to me to overcome it.

Liz has learned how to live with it and some days simply fails to hold up under the stress of doing so and must suffer the residual consequence of having incurable cancer, i.e. the fears that accompany it.

I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for her. I just needed to try to understand because I love her and thus want to understand. If the distinction drawn here makes sense to you then perhaps you will better understand Liz and others like her when they reject the word “survivor” preferring use of the word “warrior.”