Do you like being referred to as a ‘survivor’? Is there another term you prefer?  When did you decide you deserved the title?

Definition of ‘survive’:  To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere: families that were surviving in tents after the flood.

After reading this definition, ‘survivor’ isn’t empowering, but simply a state of being.  For some, that is all living beyond cancer is.  For others, living beyond cancer becomes an opportunity for learning gratitude, courage, team work, communication….oh and so much more!  Many ‘survivors’ claim their life has more meaning, more depth, greater love than ever before.

I like to call myself a ‘Sur-Thriver.’

Definition of ‘thrive’:  To grow vigorously; flourish:

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes coined the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  Trisha Torrey, a patient advocate, coined a sixth stage, Proactive Survivorship.

A proactive survivor:

  • Overcomes grief and blame.
  • Decides how the tragedy will affect him/her
  • Improves the quality of their own life and others’ lives.
  • Tells their story, not a victim’s feel-sorry-for-me story, but a tragedy-turned-triumph story showing strength to move beyond and giving hope to others.
  • Rejoices instead of blames; inspiring others by example.

If you are a ‘survivor’, how do you perceive yourself?