I saw a basket of pink plastic bracelets on the table for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I picked one up and it said “Survivor”. Without a second thought I slipped it on my wrist as I said to my companion, “I can wear this. I’m an ovarian cancer survivor.”
Later as I was walking to the car I noticed the pink band and the word. I took in a deep breath. Am I really a survivor? It’s something that’s been on my mind recently, especially since a recent conversation with a woman who is on the last part of her journey with ovarian cancer. Something seems presumptuous about this declaration. I have indeed survived the surgery, survived the chemotherapy, survived the year since finishing treatment.
I try to begin each day with wonder: For what, this day, has God given me life and health? I try to end each day with gratitude: What blessings have I received and did I notice?
But if tomorrow or next week or next month or next year the cancer returns, would I have to cut this bracelet off my arm? I think not. For the blessings of all the days, with cancer or without, are a triumph when we live with eyes wide open to God’s goodness.
As St. Paul says, “In all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8:37-39)
We are all survivors.