I am reluctant to say I am a survivor

In late 2012, through a miraculous fluke, it was discovered that I have a very large (46mm) aneurysm at the aortic root.  In the MRI scans they did to evaluate it, some small nodules were spotted in my lung.  After a followup CT scan and a biopsy, lung cancer was confirmed.  In Feb. 2013, I had surgery to remove one lobe of my lung.  Due to the very early stage of development, I did not have to have either chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  Long term prognosis is excellent.  I get annual CT scans but the surgeon says the likelyhood of recurrance is very low.

Initially, I was thankful that my cancer had been detected so early and that I did not have to have followup treatment.  I hapilly participated in Relay for Life events.  However, I am now embarassed to claim survivorship.  Everyone I know who has had cancer have had to endure not only surgery but extensive and debilitating followup treatment.  I was fortunate to only had to have surgery.   I get the feeling that I do not qualify as a "real survivor" since I did not "suffer enough" while getting the followup treatment.  So now, I don't even mention I am a cancer survivior unless necessary.

Am I alone in this feeling?


  • jorola
    jorola Member Posts: 243 Member
    You are a survivor

    I am only a caregiver but the way I see it - you still survived it. Your battle looked different sure but that does not matter. Not to me. I think it is awesome that they caught it so early and you were able to be rid of this beast with surgery alone. Congrats are in order! How much pain and agony you and your family were saved from! Personally I think you have a bit of survivor's guilt. Please do not beat yourself up about this. Take this blessing and live your life to the fullest. Take nothing for granted. Live, laugh, love. That's how you pay this back. Many your health continue and happiness surround you and yours.

  • z
    z Member Posts: 1,411 Member
    edited November 2016 #3

    You are a survivor. 

    I had anal cancer and completed tx on 6-30-2009 and because I was being scanned for follow up a 7mm lung nodule was found in my lower right lobe.  Well upon rescan 2 months later it grew to 1.1 cm and had to come out.  I had Stage 1a and a lower right lobe lobectomy via vats on 9-23-10.  No chemo/rad for the lung.  I had chemo/rad for the anal.

    I am a survior and a very lucky one at that.  Often times lung cancer isn't detected until a later stage.

    I wish you well. Lori


  • Peggy1951
    Peggy1951 Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2016 #4
    I consider myself a survivor

    I consider myself a survivor of lung cancer.  I, too, was diagnosed before stage 1 and left lower lobe was removed via VATS.  No chemo no radiation.  I just considered that a plus to my blessing to be cancer free and survivor.  Please do not think because we did not suffer as others do (I had a sister that suffered and did not make it) that we are not survivors.  Thank God that we got to it in time.  Good luck and blessings to you!

  • 802Kelley
    802Kelley Member Posts: 1
    Same boat Bill...

    I had my left lung removed 11 years ago because I had a carcinoid tumor. I had no followup treatment. I am getting used to using the term cancer but didn't for years. I also feel like I got really lucky to have been able to have surgery and no treatment. I have recently been attending exercise classes for survivors at a local organization. Just today I spent half of the class convincing myself I had the right to be there. I completely understand how you feel. -Kelley

  • bloomers
    bloomers Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2016 #6
    vats lobectomy recovery

    At age 66, 9 months ago I had a VATS lobectomy for stage 1a adenocarcinoma.  Upper right lobe was removed.  No further treatment needed.  They took out 8 nodes, all were clear.  The surgery pain from the incisions warranted pain meds for about 1.5 months.  Mild pain/breast numbness for about 3 months.  But I'm still very short of breath.  I walk 2 miles 5 x week, and do 15 minutes of mild exercises from a workout video (arms, stomach, squats etc) 3 days x week.  I walk slowly and still breathe hard, and the same during the exercises.  I also have emphesyma.  Does anyone know if I may have reached my full breathing recovery?  It was improving very slowly for months since the surgery and now, 9 months later, I feel like it's staying the same for the last month or so.  I don't like to walk with friends because talking makes me more breathless.  So I walk alone, slowly, to concentrate on keeping my breathing in control (slowing my pace when I feel my breathlessness increasing too much) so that I don't have to stop during the 2 miles.  Also very short of breath when I go upstairs.  Is this normal?