Perk # 100: I Am A Survivor!

When I began this blog, in October, 2011, I described myself as: “… a 44 year old breast cancer “warrior”….meaning that I am actively battling the disease, but not yet far enough along to call myself a “survivor”.    I believed that the term survivor was reserved for those who were declared cancer-free, and that I had not yet earned myself that title.  I figured that once my treatments were done, and there was no evidence of disease left in my body, only then could I call myself a survivor.

On March 30th,  I drove myself to the hospital for my last radiation treatment.  As I walked back to my car afterwards I thought, “So, this is it.  It’s done. Can I now finally call myself a survivor?”  There were no banners or fireworks to mark the occasion.  No news camera crews were rushing at me asking, “So, Florence, how does it feel to be a survivor?” In fact the staff at the Cancer Centre hadn’t even bothered to get me a cake.   It was then that I made an important realization.

Being a survivor is not about killing cancer cells.  For all I know, there could still be tiny, living cancer cells lurking in my body, ready to take up residence elsewhere.   What if I wait for the much anticipated five year mark?  Then do I call myself a survivor? Well, I know of cases where cancer returned 15 or even 20 years after the initial diagnosis.  So can one really ever say that they SURVIVED cancer?  I guess it is only if we die of something else that we truly can say we survived cancer.

That was my Ah-Ha moment!  The moment I realized that being a survivor is not about what cancer does to your body, but about what it does to your spirit, and that I had been a survivor all along.  Cancer did not diminish my faith in God, or weaken my relationships with my loved ones.   It did not steal my hopes and dreams.  It did not make me doubt my belief in myself and my ability to face any challenge.  Cancer weakened my body, but my spirit has never been stronger.

None of us knows the hour of our death.  It may be 4 years from now, or 44 years from now.  Whatever the time, I want to make one thing clear.  Let it never be said that Florence lost her battle with cancer.  Cancer might take my body, but it will never take my spirit.  I AM A SURVIVOR!

Tip: Repeat after me: I am a survivor!

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34 thoughts on “Perk # 100: I Am A Survivor!

  1. Florence: I’ve been reading each entry and as you got closer to the 100th I wondered what you could write that could be as powerful as some of the things you’d already said. This100th entry was a beautiful way to begin the rest of your life….you survived and made the rest of us more appreciative of what we have! Enjoy the summer

  2. Congratulations Florence! You are a true testiment to the capacity of the human spirit to survive in the face of life’s difficulties. You have set a priceless example of courage for so many others. Thank you!

  3. Absolutely fantastic! This have brought tears to my eyes… I am so proud of you for giving so many people hope, encouragement, and motivation to keep on going. You have never had a “poor Florence ” attitude although you were entitled to one, you my dear are a true warrior! Enjoy your summer and keep writing.

  4. Florence, you are an absolutely amazing lady !

    You have posted so many thought provoking comments …….. beautiful uplifting comments !

    You are a beautiful person inside and out 🙂

    God Bless you and I wish you another 44 years at least xo

  5. Yes u R Flo God bless u I didn’t have cancer but ur blog helped me in so meany ways u might not know so thank you and God bless u ur friend Deana.

  6. A “Survivor” you are Florence!! You have such a wonderful spirit and are an inspiration to many! Congratulations on your 100th Blog Post 🙂 So happy to be one of you many fans cheering you on!!! You go girl, embrace life for what it is and hang on for the ride of you life 🙂 Hugs to you on your special day!! (p.s. couldn’t have picked a better day to do it, It’s Derek’s and my 29th Wedding Anniversary) so June 25th is a good day all around!

  7. Congratulations on reaching your 100th Perk. You will now continue on in your journey in life as a Survivor.

  8. Well said. Congrats on your 100th post. As you survive and thrive, please keep writing. you have a gift and express thoughts and feelings in a way that the reader connects to. You go girl, you’ve only just begun.

  9. Way to go Florence! My mom and I have been closely following your journey this whole time. Your strength is an inspiration to many and you are the embodiment of how a positive attitude and faith in something bigger can see a person through anything. You definitely practice what you preach! Wishing you a happy healthy journey forward 🙂

  10. Wonderful post on survivorship! I love your transformation in the definition and how it becomes about the spirit. You are a survivor. What a great 100th perk! Well worth the waiting 😉 (And something we can all share in as well) Congratulations. 🙂

  11. Thank you, Florence! I too have been following your posts because just like you and so many others, I have been there! I was diagnosed two years ago, one day before my 33rd birthday and although I have finished the bulk of my treatments, I have been very reluctant to call myself a survivor because I am still taking my 5 year pill. But, your posts gave me courage and inspired me to stay strong, so I want to thank you once again. I am a survivor!

  12. Congratulations on completing your personal challenge! I have enjoyed reading every single one of them!! You are one of the strongest people I know – a real warrior!! I know that our paths will cross again some day! Until then, take care and keep fighting!! xoxo

  13. Aaaaahhhhhhhh!!! This is just beautiful!! You are ABSOLUTELY a survivor and have been since the moment you took your first breath! I love what you’ve written here! Congratulations on your 100th Perk AND on discovering that you truly are a survivor! Wishing you many more years of health and happiness, Florence!

  14. Florence…. You saved THE BEST for #100! What an absolutely beautiful post. I love the way you dissect the word and lay it out there for all of us. Inspiring. I think Perk #101 has to be the that you succeeded in finding 100 Perks and then, perhaps a list?

    What’s next, my friend? I loved this part of the ride. Waiting anxiously to see what’s coming next.

    Big hugs….

  15. Congratulations Florence on reaching your 100th entry in your blog!!!

    I really enjoyed reading everyone of them. Your strength and courage has been awesome in this bump in the road, you have helped so many others in this blog with your postive attitude and what you had be through certainly made us laugh and shed a tear. I want to thank you, I also want to wish you good health and all the happiness in your future.
    Hugs xo

  16. So very true! I wish certain people would stop looking at me like I’m dieing, I’m just sick, get over it! 😉 Glad for you, that you’re finally over the treatment! Will you keep writing even now when you’ve met your deadline? (no pun inteneded;)

  17. Congratulations on number 100! A real achievement…I hope you don’t stop blogging..we’d all miss you! I wish you health and happiness, whatever the future may bring xx

  18. Kudos on your 100th blog! You truly are an inspriration to all of us battling, surviving and coping with the Big C! I look forward to your next 100! Take care.

  19. A wonderful posting and a most suitable tribute to all of us who feel the same way. Thank you for expressing and sharing your thoughts and strength of will. Sending you warm wishes, love and light. Christina Hatt xxxxx

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