When I first started working at ELLICSR, I admit, I was very naïve to a lot of the survivorship issues that cancer patients face. Quickly I began to learn that things weren’t smooth sailing after treatment was over. I always understood that cancer changes your life, and your outlook on life, but I never really experienced this personally.
My grandmother had cancer but she lived in Syria. Things are different there and little emphasis was placed on survivorship. In Syrian culture, cancer is often not talked about. Anytime I’ve ever heard someone in my community talk about cancer they refer to it as “that disease” and, more often than not, they whisper it as though it were something to be ashamed of. My aunts and uncles spoke very little about how they felt. Even my mom only recently would talk about her experience providing care for my grandmother.
One of the things that I’ve learned the past few years is that being a cancer survivor is more than just being a person with cancer. A cancer survivor is anyone touched by cancer (by diagnosis or other) at any point from diagnosis to the end of life.
We are all touched by cancer in some way or another, whether you or someone you know has had cancer, or has had a cancer scare. I hope this blog will help us all reflect on survivorship and help build our understanding and perspectives around the issues that cancer survivors face.
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