BCAM: October 30th

Labels. Labels are fraught with meaning and can be difficult for a variety of meanings.

Adiba tackles the label survivor in this way …

Breast Cancer Survivor. What does that actually mean? Should I that live with metastatic breast cancer ever be called a survivor?
I say no! Please don’t call me that!
You hear breast cancer patients being called survivors all the time. And that is completely correct for those that are. Meaning those that were diagnosed with earlier stage than us, that FINISHED treatment and SURVIVED their cancer, it didn’t and will not KILL THEM.
Everytime someone calls me a survivor it just feels wrong. It happens way too often, even from people who should know better like hospital staff, people working for breast cancer organizations and of course the media. I am NOT a survivor. I live with metastatic breast cancer, a disease that will 100% KILL ME. It is very different from earlier stage breast cancer. I will NEVER finish treatment and I will unfortunate NOT SURVIVE this.
I live with cancer until I don’t so I prefer being called a breast cancer lifer, a cancerlifer, or whatever you wanna call me just don’t call me a breast cancer survivor.

I agree 100% with Adiba. The label survivor doesn’t feel right because cancer will never be past tense for me, it is always present and will be until it murders me. I’m fully aware that the American Cancer Society defines a survivor as a person who has been diagnosed with cancer and that the label is appropriate as soon as one has lived one day with cancer. I just can’t embrace that definition, it flies in the face of reason to me since that’s not what the word itself means.

And yet, if the label resonates, use it.

Just don’t impose the label on others.

I’ve been tagged in photos on social media and labeled as a survivor by several people, mostly those who have had early stage disease. When I’ve politely asked to be labeled something else since that label doesn’t resonate with me, I’ve received a variety of responses. The worst have been those people who insist that they can label me whatever they want, that it doesn’t matter if I don’t believe the label applies to me. Those same people then blocked me for being “negative.” Others have listened, asked questions, and adjusted.

The bottom line for me is that labels are personal, individual, and cannot be imposed. We all need to get into the habit of asking others what label resonates with them. Just like those people who don’t identify as binary (I shared Theo’s story earlier this month), those of us in the MBC community often defy categorization.

And that’s ok because that’s real life.

And now you know more about why labels aren’t universal and those of us with MBC should be asked what resonates with them!

19 thoughts on “BCAM: October 30th

  1. you are really living out loud Abigail, and always smiling so beautifully in your pictures!!! :):) away with the labels, just enjoy as much of life now as you can, I do hope you and your family have a good day…

    Liked by 1 person

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