Do we ever really survive?

I've been dealing with cancer for nearly 2 years now and I've been struggling with the word survivor.  I am not medically a survivor, although there are no visible signs of my cancer I'm still on chemo pills and still dealing with the side effects.  I don't want to take away from those that are empowered by the title of survivor.  I guess every day you make it could be considered survival.  What I struggle with is the meaning of survival.  Finishing cancer treatment feels like walking away from a bad car wreck, you may be alive but that doesn't mean you're whole.  I've had my friend die of this disease, I've lost sleep, body parts, and now my long term girlfriend.  On top of that I'm in constant fear for my life.  I feel deeply wounded mentally and emotionally.  I feel like that struggle will never end.  How can I survive when I feel like I've lost so much of myself?  Is being a survivor simply living to fight another day?  That's all I'm running on right now, an instinctual need to survive.  Yet that doesn't feel like enough.  Just getting by doesn't feel like living.  If you've been clear for a few years or can sympathize with where I'm coming from please respond.  


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  • Yes I can sympathize, this is something I have gone through and come out the other side. Would love to talk to you more.
  • ncarlinncarlin Community Member
    I feel like I can sympathize.  I have been done with treatment for almost a year and still feel like I'm in a rut, like I haven't moved on sometimes.  I am back in the work force but after work all I want to do is sleep and every day off is a recovery day so any social life is pretty much nonexistent.  I thought that once I was done with treatment and feeling better I would have a social life again.  The few times I have gone out with friends I have still felt so isolated from everyone that I almost just wanted to go home.  The side effects I still have from chemo and exhaustion just aren't understood by anyone, our age especially.  One guy I was talking to at a bar told me I looked like I wanted to kill myself.  As if I needed another reason to be self conscious.  I also noticed that mentioning I had cancer pretty much puts a stop to any conversation I have with people, especially young healthy people.  Sometimes I have felt like I lost so much to cancer as I have lost many relatives to the disease and even my dog passed from it.  She was my greatest companion throughout my life especially throughout treatment.  She died before my last cycle of chemo and I was more devastated then than I was when I found out I was sick.  Cancer just sucks!! Feel free to message if you need to talk.
  • I always think of myself as a cancer patient not a survivor- been in treatment over two years and still haven't gotten rid of the stuff. I don't know even if my cancer did go away at what point if ever I would consider myself a survivor. But hey, I say call yourself whatever you feel appropriate :) Patient, Survivor, Fighter... Cancer Awesome Person...