Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Jessie C. Gruman, PhD is president and founder of the non-profit organization Center for Advancing Health. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life threatening illnesses — informs her perspective as an author, advocate, and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Forum blog. Her most recent book, AfterShock, helps patients navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. You can follow her on Twitter at @JessieGruman.
It is completely understandable if you associate the term “cancer survivor” with an image of glamorous, defiant Gloria Gaynor claiming that She. Will. Survive. Or maybe with a courageous Lance Armstrong in his quest to reclaim the Tour de France. Or perhaps it is linked for you with heroic rhetoric and pink-related racing, walking and shopping.
I never call myself a survivor because when I hear this term, I recall my experience following each of four cancer-related diagnoses. It has not been triumphant. It’s been terrifying and grueling. It hasn’t taken courage to get through the treatment. It’s taken doing the best I can. I am not still here because I am defiant. I am here because I am lucky, because I am [...] continue the story