From survivor to thriver – I’m not there yet

Yesterday, I gave a talk relating to my upcoming free online course – Should I blog? In it, I introduced myself as a breast cancer survivor/warrior. One of the participants challenged that language – preferring the use of the term ‘thriver’ rather than ‘survivor’.

In deciding how to introduce myself, I was fully aware of the ‘thriver’ term, but not yet comfortable with it. You see, ‘thriver’ does have a bit of the connotation of ‘cancer as a gift’ which is an idea that I both despise and feel guilt over (I blogged about my feeling of guilt). For me to be a ‘thriver’, I need to take what I have learned from my breast cancer journey and internalize it in my new way of living — my new way of understanding who I am — I need to finish re-claiming my professional and academic identities, before I can call myself a ‘thriver’.

To me, the term ‘thriver’ represents something that I am striving for. It represents the ‘new normal’, post-cancer Becky, that I have not yet achieved. I may no longer ‘have’ breast cancer, but I am still recovering from the multiple assaults to my system that was breast cancer treatment. I am still fighting to identify as a ‘survivor’. I think I need to finish processing who I am as a breast cancer survivor before I can move on to being a breast cancer ‘thriver’. One day, I hope to use that term to identify myself, I’m just not there yet.

  • Becky

One Comment

  • Good posting. Two more treatments and I’m done. But feels like nothing is moving towards any resolution right now. What do look like when I come out of the fog? Being able to think has helped, except 6 months of not getting anything done feels empty.

    Leaving the anger seems positive. Going back to the main clinic to reintroduce myself as someone no longer over the edge, I’m hoping will be a confirmation of myself back though different. Maybe we need others to tell us we’re alright before we believe it?

    This is good: Primacy of Caring


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