The 14th Dalai Lama offers many valuable lessons to Healthy Survivors. For example, according to a recent NYTimes article, when the Dalai Lama came into exile his first words were, "Now we are free." And his first instinct was to look for that which he could now do better.
Healthy Survivorship is not about what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you. The paradox of enjoying good health and wealth is that the freedoms they buy may blind you to opportunities for personal growth and meaning. In other words, having what you want may keep you from looking for -- and finding -- what you need.
In my case, cancer and its treatments have caused aftereffects that make it impossible to do clinical medicine. Years ago, while grieving the terrible loss of my practice, I hoped to find new ways to continue my life mission: helping others through the synergy of science and caring.
Even while still hoping to get well and return to clinical medicine, I embraced the new opportunities to read, think, talk, write and speak about how modern patients can get good care and live as fully as possible. I saw opportunities to advocate for patients to clinicians, as well as to advocate for clinicians (and science-based medicine) to patients.
Healthy Survivors recognize and grieve their losses. And while they are grieving, they make the effort to look for opportunities to do those things that can be done even better than before because of what they've lost.