Someone asked me if I was a "cancer survivor"? And if I was "worried my cancer would ever come back"

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I recently had someone asked me if I was a "cancer survivor"? And if I was "worried my cancer would ever come back"? I never thought of myself as a "cancer survivor". I just had a crappy "speed bump on the way through life" (i.e. cancer)...on the way to growing old with my wife and kids. 

Then I started thinking about it. No one calls themselves a Heart Disease Survivor? Or a Diabetes Survivor?  So why put energy into labeling ourselves? 
Crap happens during life. We just have to deal with it and try to resolve it...the best we can.

I believe it is best to focus good energy into the "positive/happy things we want to happen to us"...instead of focusing our energy on "crappy stressful thoughts" on things we cannot control (like cancer).

1. I am just opening up this conversation to see what other people think about the above?
2. And hopefully we all can come up some good suggestions/ideas to help the "mental part" for people that have gone through cancer.

Robert
DryMouthThroat.com
HPV Throat Cancer -  Treatment and Recovery - What Worked for Me

Comments

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
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    Hi Robert

    I think because it is kind of like a metaphor for someone to say, look I been there. You do make a very good point as words play a very strong and emotional part of our everyday lives, reminding ourselves of a bad passed can cause us to sometime have more bad days then good days. I have a lot of friends who use to come here and post on CSN but they are no longer a part of it because it brings back to many bad memories for them. Then there are others like me that words good or bad don’t impact at all because of our faith in God.

    Good thread let’s see what others have to say

    Tim

     

     

     

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
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    Very good question...

    It might be that not that long ago, most never did survive cancer. Now we do have survivors. Most doctors won't say cured until 5 years. As for not saying a diabetic survivor if you live long enough it will win in the end. I watched my mother fight it until it took her kidneys then it was just time. My Father fought lung cancer but was not a survivor and never got to hear that wonderful word, NED. My wife has over 22 light strokes and two were pretty good and some memory loss, so as of to day she is a survivor concidering the doctors gave her two years, 22 years ago.

    For me, I had the tumor removed and my vocal cords but they got all the cancer, no chemo or radiation, so I am a survivor. I beat cancer, but I can't beat COPD. The day will come when it wins. Just my thoughts on why they call some survivors, is way to many don't.

    Also a prayer for all the friends/members we lost. Just way to many over these last several years. This year started off sad as well.  

    Bill

  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,031 Member
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    Good Topic

    Good replies as well. I think each of us handle situations differently, some on the down side and others on the upbeat side. A lot plays into our daily outlook of life after our surgeries/ treatments, how we fair afterwards. Like mentioned, some people are here for awhile as they need this site for help and suggestions. They move on after a period of time so they can look to the future without the constant reminder of what they have been through.

    I, like many others here, don't mind the "Cancer Survivor" Reference. I have at times thought about not stopping in on this site and another I visit, but I seem to come in almost daily. The reason why some ask is I hope that I and others can give hope to those that are now like Deer caught in the headlights. I was lucky when I first learned I had Base of Tongue cancer. A guy in the neighborhood that I talked to once in a while heard I had cancer. He came and knocked on the door and told me what to expect as he had Tonsil cancer 7 years prior, I never knew this as he never brought it up in prior conversations. Now I was armed with reliable information, not scared of the unknown. Everything happened the way he said it would which greatly helped me. He is now 18 years out, still working and hopes to retire in a few more years.

    Do I wonder if it will ever come back? Yes, but like you mentioned, it is wasted energy to worry. Less than one year after my Base of Tongue cancer, I learned I had Melanoma on my left cheek. Returned to my ENT Surgeon and he did Surgery to reconstruct my cheek after removing the Melanoma with safe margins. I think that Melanoma episode knocked the wind out of my sails more than the Base of Tongue cancer because of having to deal with cancer again so soon afterwards. I do return to him yearly to have him take a look at me to ease my mind. I feel the longer out from Surgery and Treatments we go; the less we look back and tend to focus on the future more. 

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

     

  • phrannie51
    phrannie51 Member Posts: 4,716
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    Think you have a point....

    Maybe when people ask us if we're cancer survivors, we should say "not yet....but I did survive the treatment"....which is way closer to the truth Laughing

    For three years I spent most of my time in a darker place....so terrified that the cancer would return.....and it did.  My greatest fear was realized, and guess what?  Now that I've had a second treatment that gut level fear is gone....I also started taking an antidepressent/anti-anxiety med in Oct.....it didn't just make me feel better, it literally turned my world around.  Wish I would have listened to my Oncologist earlier on that subject, but I was determined that I just needed to control how I felt.

    p

  • stephenaudrey
    stephenaudrey Member Posts: 32
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    Your raise some good points. 

    Your raise some good points.  In mid July I will be one year out from rad/chemo of the side of my face for some unusual scc that invaded my facial nerves.  I thought I had bell's palsey.  When my Dr told me I had cancer  I was totally taken by surprise.  Eventually i began to feel like all the joy was being sucked out of my life and I couldn't enjoy anything.  The treatment was easily the worst thing I'd ever experienced in my life.  Maybe worse than the symptoms was the fear.  As time goes by I'm feeling better physically and emotionally.  I find it easier to be positive .  I don't know if I could have done iit without the support of my wife.

     

     

  • SL12345
    SL12345 Member Posts: 6
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    When I was told...

    Robert,

    My ENT, at the time, told me first you have to deal with the surgery. And THEN the being a Cancer Survivor. That title hasn't really registered. And I have felt the same way. It's just something you have to deal with it. And you do what you have to do to get better.

    I thank God for my blessings and though this post surgery has definitely not been easy, I continue to do what I have to do and can do.

    Congrats, on your healthy recovery.

  • Barbaraek
    Barbaraek Member Posts: 626
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    MarineE5 said:

    Good Topic

    Good replies as well. I think each of us handle situations differently, some on the down side and others on the upbeat side. A lot plays into our daily outlook of life after our surgeries/ treatments, how we fair afterwards. Like mentioned, some people are here for awhile as they need this site for help and suggestions. They move on after a period of time so they can look to the future without the constant reminder of what they have been through.

    I, like many others here, don't mind the "Cancer Survivor" Reference. I have at times thought about not stopping in on this site and another I visit, but I seem to come in almost daily. The reason why some ask is I hope that I and others can give hope to those that are now like Deer caught in the headlights. I was lucky when I first learned I had Base of Tongue cancer. A guy in the neighborhood that I talked to once in a while heard I had cancer. He came and knocked on the door and told me what to expect as he had Tonsil cancer 7 years prior, I never knew this as he never brought it up in prior conversations. Now I was armed with reliable information, not scared of the unknown. Everything happened the way he said it would which greatly helped me. He is now 18 years out, still working and hopes to retire in a few more years.

    Do I wonder if it will ever come back? Yes, but like you mentioned, it is wasted energy to worry. Less than one year after my Base of Tongue cancer, I learned I had Melanoma on my left cheek. Returned to my ENT Surgeon and he did Surgery to reconstruct my cheek after removing the Melanoma with safe margins. I think that Melanoma episode knocked the wind out of my sails more than the Base of Tongue cancer because of having to deal with cancer again so soon afterwards. I do return to him yearly to have him take a look at me to ease my mind. I feel the longer out from Surgery and Treatments we go; the less we look back and tend to focus on the future more. 

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

     

    And that is why I come visit frequently too

    I too owe a great debt to all who post here with information and support. My husband experienced the cancer...and I was in the caregiver role. Being able to access information from people who had made it through treatment and had suggestions for how to deal with the side effects was worth more than gold to me. I TRUSTED what I read here because you all have lived it.

    Barbara

  • MrsBD
    MrsBD Member Posts: 617 Member
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    Survivor?

    Interesting point. The fight against cancer is often compared to a war. Just think about the terms we use. We battle, fight, blast, eradicate, defeat, and win. We don't call our former military members "survivors". We call them veterans. We are cancer veterans.  Voices of experience for the newly conscripted. 

  • Barbaraek
    Barbaraek Member Posts: 626
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    MrsBD said:

    Survivor?

    Interesting point. The fight against cancer is often compared to a war. Just think about the terms we use. We battle, fight, blast, eradicate, defeat, and win. We don't call our former military members "survivors". We call them veterans. We are cancer veterans.  Voices of experience for the newly conscripted. 

    I love it!

    "Veterans....voices of experience for the newly conscripted". Thank God you all were there to help us newbies...

    Barbara

  • Duggie88
    Duggie88 Member Posts: 760 Member
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    Kinda like the title

    Being called a cancer survivor is far better than many other names I've been called. Probably the most recent one and the one I enjoy hearing more than the rest.

    Now this a--hole needs some coffee (that one has been around for quite some time)

    Enjoy the day

          Jeff

  • the_wife
    the_wife Member Posts: 184
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    Duggie88 said:

    Kinda like the title

    Being called a cancer survivor is far better than many other names I've been called. Probably the most recent one and the one I enjoy hearing more than the rest.

    Now this a--hole needs some coffee (that one has been around for quite some time)

    Enjoy the day

          Jeff

    Yes and yes

    I like the survivor title, too. I'm happy to say that both my hubby and I are survivors!! I believe you become a survivor the day you are diagnosed with cancer. 

    And yes, of course we are worried the cancer will come back. But that fear is what drives me everyday to try to live life the best way I can and to appreciate what I've been given. Every day is another chance to get it right and not make the same mistakes. Sometimes the fear gets the best of me, but not so much anymore. I know how to ask for help and those are the times I reach out. But I can't deny there are days when I really struggle....just dealing with all the side effects of hubby's cancer, and the unknowns in our lives now, but the thing is - no one has a guarantee of life without pain or disease. It DOES get easier the further along you go. Life happens. It's not all about cancer. All I can say is I'm so glad I'm here and hubby is here, surviving, day by day. And yes, I'll wave that survivor flag loud and proud!!!!!

  • slk2015
    slk2015 Member Posts: 54
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    Survivor

    No, I don't use the term survivor, ever.  I'm diabetic and would never use the term there.  I'm person who had tongue cancer.  Do I worry it will come back?  Probably some, though I think that's more because I'm conditioned to do so, rather than actual worry.  I didn't see the cancer coming, nor the diabetes, so I guess I figure worrying or thinking about it wouldn't make any difference anyway.  One can take prudent steps to be sure if the cancer does come back, it's detected early and treated, but beyond that, there's really nothing one can do.  It's more just a matter of paying attention to one's health.

  • Sonja.K
    Sonja.K Member Posts: 79 Member
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    slk2015 said:

    Survivor

    No, I don't use the term survivor, ever.  I'm diabetic and would never use the term there.  I'm person who had tongue cancer.  Do I worry it will come back?  Probably some, though I think that's more because I'm conditioned to do so, rather than actual worry.  I didn't see the cancer coming, nor the diabetes, so I guess I figure worrying or thinking about it wouldn't make any difference anyway.  One can take prudent steps to be sure if the cancer does come back, it's detected early and treated, but beyond that, there's really nothing one can do.  It's more just a matter of paying attention to one's health.

    Interesting Stuff

    I am not bothered at all by "survivor".   What I do not like is when people say things like "winner", "fighter" and "lost the battle".

    To me that seems to basically be saying that a person is/was in a win/lose scenario and they did not come out on top. It is like saying that if they would have fought harder, they would not have died from cancer.

    I admire all of you who are able to be here to help.  I cannot, I definitely need to take breaks from the site.  Everyone was so kind here during my treatment, you all helped and continue to help me, teach me and make me smile.  A sincere thank you.  

     

     

  • traceyd1
    traceyd1 Member Posts: 79 Member
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    Surviving

    I think of my husband as "cancer surviving".  He is still battling lung mets, but trudges through work, life, and living in general.  When people ask him how he's doing, his mantra is "mind strong, body strong."  So, he is living, thriving, and CANCER SURVIVING.  He's my hero.

     

    Tracey

  • Flyfisherman
    Flyfisherman Member Posts: 23
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    Survivor?

    I do think that people say this because, if they haven't experienced it or gone through it with a close loved one, they don't know what to say or how to address the "C" word comfortably.

    Very good points that you make, the way I see it, as long as I can answer, survivor isn't that bad!  It certainly beats the alternative (which I guess is, "lost his battle with cancer") so I can say that I am dang happy to be here and answer to anything!!

  • Tish
    Tish Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2016 #17
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    Cancer Survivor

    I say "YES" you are a survivor, whether you think that or not, others see you that way - I'm a SURVIVOR !! but I do worry about getting cancer again, but that part just comes with it -

  • Cindybear49
    Cindybear49 Member Posts: 9
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    Sure we think about it coming back

    Duh? Why do people ask questions like thAT?  Of course we do..I just want to say to them are you afraid you r gonna get cancer? But no that is just my angry me, cause I m nicer than that. Sure I worry but I am just so happy that my cancer is gone and I m tasting again and I m too busy trying to eat real food and get rid of this feeding tube. So I can go swimming or kayaking again! I have been through too much to worry,  I need to get back to living again!  Peace