Whenever someone new finds my blog or FaceBook page I am always asked, “Why ‘Reluctant Survivor’?” I try to have a short, succinct explanation or I point them to my original post. Recently, I had a conversation with an oncologist who asked that same question. As I tried to briefly describe my “reluctance,” he said, “That’s a normal reaction. I think everyone who has been through a difficult experience feels that way at some point.” So what did I gain from that conversation?
I learned that my reluctance comes from not wanting cancer to define me, but I cannot escape the fact that the experience is a part of what defines who I am today. Without the experience I would not be “me” today.
And who am I today? I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a best friend. I am a lawyer, a writer, a poet, and a survivor. The experiences that I have had over the past 50 years define me as a person. What I choose to do with those experiences are the manifestation of that definition. As a lawyer I work in compliance. As a writer and a poet I share myself with you, my reader. And as a survivor I have become involved in activities that I believe God has placed in front of me for a purpose.
I still question this journey. I wonder what purpose God has for these experiences. What is it that I am to learn? What is God trying to teach me? Like the oncologist, I believe everyone feels this way at some point in their life. And that’s ok.
What I can share today is that I am still reluctant; I sometimes hesitate when there is an opportunity to share my story or knowledge. I am becoming more comfortable with the definition that is “me.” I still want to share my knowledge.
And while my story remains one of healing and hope, it is also a story of grace. Feel free to ask me about it.