Thursday, April 24, 2008

What IS a Survivor ?

Many have said, " How can you be a survivor if you are still going through treatments?" "How can you be a survivor if you have not been told you are cured?" Please allow me to explain!

First off, let us see what Webster has to say. The actual meaning is as follows. Root word is survive.

The intransitive verb of that word means:
1 : to remain alive or in existence : live on
2 : to continue to function or prosper

The transitive verb means:
1 : to remain alive after the death of (he is survived by his wife)
2 : to continue to exist or live after (survived the earthquake)
3 : to continue to function or prosper despite(they survived many hardships)

Survivor is a noun. So, to be a survivor we must have remained alive and continue to exist and function despite any hardships such as a disease like cancer.

I have Oral Cancer, I am alive and continue to function despite it. I may not function to my fullest potential, but I still function. No where does it say we have to have been cured before we can be deemed a survivor. This as many words in our language, have been misconstrued to have other meanings due to how we may use them in a sentence. Because of that structure we assume the meaning of a word without even looking to see if it was used correctly. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. That does not make it right. But, we are all human.

So what is a Healthy Survivor? That is simple. Dr. Wendy Harpham explains this the best.

Healthy Survivor: A survivor who gets good care and lives as fully as possible is a Healthy Survivor. Wendy S. Harpham, MD

And that folks is exactly what I do. It does not matter how much time has elapsed. It can be 1 hour, 1 month or 20 years past your diagnosis. You have survived not matter what that time factor may be.

Any time of survival, especially Healthy Survival is important, crucial and a gift.