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Dear Cancer: Diary of 5x Cancer Survivor

Sabrina Fuoco

My name is Sabrina Fuoco and I am a five-time cancer survivor. I have been battling this grueling illness for 31 years: as a child, teenager and young adult. Over the years, cancer has taken my health, my hair, my energy, chunks of my body and sometimes even my sanity – but it has also given me a gift – to live life meaningfully and with great urgency. Not knowing whether I have months or years to live has forced me to live life in the moment and enjoy the present.

This is my open letter to cancer.

 

 

 


 

Publication of this series courtesy of the University Health Network


 

What we call ourselves – finding the right term

by Andrew Griffith

reprinted with permission from MD Anderson

Over the past few years, I have reflected on the terms people use to describe their life with cancer. I initially tried to write a ‘glossary’ of the terms: hero, warrior, fighter, veteran, graduate, survivor, victim or living with cancer.

In trying this out with a few friends, one having gone through a comparable experience, one not, it did not work. People adopt different terms at different stages; a journey approach captures this better than an analytical approach.

Rather than the Kubler-Ross1 five stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance), written for the terminally ill, I find the William Bridges framework in Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes more helpful. Bridges talks about three phases: ending (or losing and letting go), the neutral zone (in between, or ambiguous phase), and the new beginning (acceptance and embracing). Circumstances change quickly, transitions take time.  This provides a convenient frame for cancer: from ‘normal’ to a new ‘normal’, which we can accept, if not embrace.

 

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