|A reader in Arizona recently contacted me, asking about support groups in her area. She was only three months out of treatment when she tried meeting with a group of older women, and "the seventy-somethings said to me that my plans for a unified group with fun, exciting activities and outreach were great -- but I was not yet a survivor -- so I was not welcome."
She reacted with shock, and now says that she will "work tirelessly to change ideas and make heath care and all supporting activities available to everyone." Good for her!
I know it's hard to talk about being a survivor, because we can never really say that we are "cured" from breast cancer. We can say we're in remission, or we're NED - No Evidence of Disease, or we're stable - for those of us that were diagnosed with metastatic disease and are progression-free. But everyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer has had to endure emotional upheaval as well as some kinds of treatment.
Seven years ago, when I was diagnosed, I found a support group for newly diagnosed women before I even started treatment, and was welcomed instantly. But that happened in a major metropolitan area, whereas my reader lives in a rural area.
|So when can you call yourself a survivor? Does someone else set that standard, or do you decide? Does the culture you live in make a difference as to when you can say you are a breast cancer survivor? This isn't a reality TV show, with viewers voting you on, or off, Cancer Island! This is your life and your health. I'd like to know what you think. Vote in my poll, and let me know:|
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