Archives For Survivor

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Family Update:

We are celebrating the two-year anniversary since my daughter’s last cancer. She is following a more frequent version of the Toronto Protocol (the go-to surveillance program for Li-Fraumeni Syndrome). We ride the rollercoaster every three months – so far so good. She survived her recent 10-day vision quest in the mountains with the requisite three-day fast and the close-call bear encounter with the revelation that she will grow old. I cried. Continue Reading…

IMG_1185As you may or may not be aware, I have not been ‘out’ much lately. I am trying to come to grips with the latest cancer ordeal in our family. I’ve been digging in the dirt, watching mindless television, reading and shockingly – cleaning my house.

I have been saying that I am grieving. Grieving what? Am I grieving a dream, a vision of the future, an expectation? I realized that I’m not really grieving although it can feel pretty bad. Continue Reading…


The wave is coming!

There has been so much going on since my last blog post necessitating my absence. In July, from a biopsy, my daughter was diagnosed with a leiomyosarcoma in her liver. This required finding a liver surgeon to determine if this was operable, while all of her and my usual doctors were on extended vacations. We knew the wave was coming and were trying to strategize how to get to the highest ground to be able to survive the hit. Continue Reading…

survivor not just


I was diagnosed with my first cancer in 1993. At that time the term ‘cancer survivor’ was in its youth. Prior to that, I was widowed in my mid-twenties. I remember that in the newspaper, my husband’s obituary stated, “…he is survived by his parents, his wife and daughter.” Somehow I got lost in the wording there as well. But I was a survivor before I was a survivor, if you know what I mean.

What is a Survivor?

According to the term survivor is defined:

sur·vi·vor [ser-vahy-ver]


1. a person or thing that survives.

2. Law. the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.

3. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. 

The origin of the word from the Etymology online dictionary:

c.1500, in the legal sense of “one who outlives another,” agent noun from survive. Meaning “one who has a knack for pulling through adversity” is attested from 1971. Survivor syndrome is first recorded 1968.


My favorite is from the ‘Urban Dictionary’ where survivor is defined as:

The greatest TV Show… since… well… ever. I play Survivor online… does that make me a loser?


The History of the term Cancer Survivor

In 1985, The New England Journal of Medicine published Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan’s poignant account of his own diagnosis and treatment for cancer. In that article, Dr. Mullan defined three primary seasons of cancer survivorship, which he termed “acute survivorship,” “extended survivorship,” and “permanent survivorship” Continue Reading…