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More Than Words: How Do You Refer to Yourself?

When it comes to fighting cancer, mindset can be a big piece of the journey. Someone’s frame of mind can help determine how much energy and focus they bring to the ordeal. For many, the language of cancer is a big part in determining mindset. How you refer to yourself can give you strength or peace, or help keep you connected with your sense of humor or bigger purpose.

To find out how you are referring to yourself while on your journey, we asked members of our Facebook community: When you talk about having prostate cancer, do you refer to yourself as a prostate cancer: Survivor, Warrior, Patient, or something else?

Nearly 150 of you responded. Here is what you had to say.

I am a survivor

The biggest response from the community was “survivor.” It is a badge of courage and strength and pays respect to the journey you have traveled so far.

I am a survivor. Having survived prostate cancer has made me feel blessed and so thankful to God for healing my body, mind, and spirit!”

“I chose to have surgery in April 2019. I go this week to have my PSA checked again. I consider myself to be a survivor.”

“Survivor! Surgery in ’17.”

I am a warrior

Many of you also identified with the term “warrior.” By calling yourself a warrior, you are summoning your strength to fight and not let cancer win. The word can be a reminder to help you stay in the right mindset to do whatever it takes to stay ahead of cancer.

“I had robotic surgery in April and will schedule my first shot this Friday and will start radiation on July 6. I am a warrior – always have been.”

“Warrior sounds good to me. I am not going down without a fight!”

“I am a warrior. I fight every day. I will not give up. This monster does not quit.”

I call myself a patient

Others of you are taking a very practical view. Your focus is on the medical side of things and cooperating with your doctors and caregivers as much as possible.

“My PSA is till .04, so I call myself a patient because I still see the doctor every 6 months for a checkup. It has been almost 6 years.”

“Impatient patient!”

“Patient, because the cancer may be in remission, but there is not a cure for cancer.”

Prostate cancer professional

A few of you have come up with your own terms to keep your spirits up. Yes, cancer is one of the toughest things you will face, but for many, having a sense of humor is the key to having the right mindset.

“I like to think of myself as a CIA (Cancer Intelligence Agency) operative who collects, analyzes, and disseminates cancer intelligence to my doctors.”

I do not dwell on being a survivor or warrior

Others of you prefer not to refer to yourself by any term that reminds you of your prostate cancer. Instead, you focus on living your best life.

“I had robotic surgery 8/16/20 and just had a screening that came back with no detectable signs on my PSA. I do not dwell on being a survivor or warrior. I am just trying to live my most active and best life possible.”

“Had robotic surgery June 3, 2020. Doing well and my results are cancer-free. Just enjoying every day.”

Share your preference with the community

Now it is your turn. Tell us in the comments what word you use to describe yourself when talking about your prostate cancer – Survivor, Warrior, Patient, or something else?

Comments

  • Dennis Golden moderator
    3 months ago

    Wow – Great question and it does make you stop and think how you see yourself. Personally I try to put Prostate Cancer out of my mind (and no I do not ignore it) I have been treated 2x and at this time I prefer to live in the present. I am here today and for today my cancer is under control.

    I am who I am – Dennis – While my body happens to have a disease my mind does not .

    No amount of worry will change the disease in fact it can make it worse due to stress. If the disease comes back the only thing I can do is to hope my MD’s will be able to control it or stop it while I hopefully can continue to enjoy a comfortable quality of life in the process.

    Labels are tricky they can put you into a box or liberate your thinking – The choice on how you choose to define yourself is up to you – so for me right now and for the past 77 years I am -Dennis

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