Years ago at a conference, the emcee introduced each survivor sitting at the dais. Once or twice during each introduction, the audience interrupted with applause and cheers. I wondered if I was the only person who didn't feel like clapping.
What did he say that prompted the outbursts? Comments such as, "She refused to let her diagnosis of metastatic cancer slow her down," and "Even when he couldn't eat, he never missed a day of work," and "She lost her job, had multiple surgeries and courses of treatment, yet never complained."
"This is good?" I was thinking. "This is what newly diagnosed patients should strive to emulate?"
It is a scenario I've seen over and over. A recent news release called for nominations of inspirational survivors, giving example similar to the introductions above. How many stories of Healthy Survivors would not make it past the first cut because their stories wouldn't be considered inspirational?
For those of you Healthy Survivors who are choosing to use sick days to recuperate after procedures and treatments (instead of toughing it out) or who are dealing with fears and doubts by sharing them with trusted friends and/or counselors (instead of showing only a brave face), I wish you could see me now. I am standing up and clapping loudly, inspired by your willingness to do what you have to do to be a Healthy Survivor.
In the end, the best reward is not a medal but a life well-lived.