I am not a cancer survivor.
It is important to understand what this means. From the day I was diagnosed to the day I woke up from surgery to remove the final traces of cancerous growth in my body, there elapsed 140 days (or, just a bit of one-third of one year, 38% to be exact). In that time, I received chemotherapy on 27 days (19%), and went through roughly 3.5 hours of surgery.
At no point in this process was there a consideration that I might die as the result of the disease. There was no point at which anyone involved imagined it would take more than six months at the very worst.
For most cancer patients, the process takes months or years, there is a real threat of death, and even the treatment leaves the person wasted and weakened. For me, the process has been a tremendous annoyance. Nothing more. I have spent most of the last half-year angry, upset, depressed, sullen, and vicious – and mostly annoyed. I have not reached into the depths of my psyche to realise something new about myself as a person. I have not grappled with my feelings of mortality and impotence. I have railed against the arbitrary universe, but I always did, and will do. I have taken nothing from this experience, because, ultimately, this experience was nothing – compared to the suffering that most cancer patients go through every day for months, I have no right to complain, and nothing beyond a handful of feverish nights to point to and say, “that’s what it’s like to have cancer."
I have been extremely lucky. For a time, I held in my body the greatest killer in the natural world, and the experience was like dusting away flies. I can move on with the remainder of what will perhaps be a long and healthful life. It cost me virtually nothing.
I do not - I fear I never will - understand how it was that I developed this disease. It doesn't matter. It's gone. I have scars now that I carry with neither pride nor shame. This happened. I dealt with it. I wish I hadn't needed to. May no-one reading this ever have to do the same.
You know what? Maybe I am a cancer survivor after all. And maybe that's a good thing.