How Do You Define a Cancer Survivor?

If you're a member of the "Cancer Club," you are in the company of some of the most interesting and inspirational people around. According to Helen, there are certain shared characteristics within all cancer survivors and fighters. Read more to find out what these characteristics are.

Whenever I talk to another cancer survivor, (a fellow member of the C club), the conversation goes immediately past the superficial level. It is unequivocally honest, genuine and authentic. It is both a credible and an incredible experience to be completely real with another person in this manner. It's agreed that no time will be wasted on petty, mindless chatter, because we know just how precious time is. Instead, significant issues and feelings are shared openly, without worry of any possible judgment or repercussions. These engaging dialogues are valuable, and refreshing - and often times, the start of a very solid shared connection.

There is also a clear sense of resilience that we carry through to every part of our lives. We faced our "moments of truth" when we were initially diagnosed. Then we endured procedure after procedure, often with residual after-effects and lasting challenges. We have mastered the determination and the resolve that is necessary to keep on going. We forge ahead with hope, in spite of knowing that there are no guarantees that we will beat this thing... and we have no absolute assurances that our treatments will be both successful and effective.

Yet even through all this, we find a way to hold onto certain characteristics that are common in us all:

  • We don't live on the surface - we dig down deep and discover your true substance.
  • We don't fret over small, insignificant manners.
  • We have confronted our own mortality, at one point or another.
  • We have tapped into our own self worth and value.
  • We have been challenged to uncover new found meaning in life.
  • We have found (or are in the process of finding) our true identity and purpose.
  • We have discovered our reserves of strength (often times that we never knew we had).
  • We understand the concept of truly being "real" with ourselves and with others.

It certainly isn't a club that anyone wants an invitation to but in my opinion, the members are truly one of a kind, and the lessons learned are invaluable.

What are some other qualities that define a cancer fighter, survivor or supporter?