jennifer bennett, san diego, california

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor

survivor book


Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis. November 19, 2004. It was a Thursday afternoon, 4 P.M. My doctor called and gave me the diagnosis over the phone. He felt I should know immediately.

For the past week I have been feeling nostalgic. I remember in a fond fashion what I did in order to prepare myself for some very large decisions, moving in a very hyper-aware state in order to process the diagnosis and everything else that went with it. But when all is said and done, nothing really prepares you for survival. With the conclusion of the treatments, we the survivors are asked to embrace the well-ness of a new existence without any attention paid to the path of the body and soul as a reconstructed and patched person.

I no longer believe in coincidences, but rather purposeful experiences. Call it fate. Call it what you will. But I do believe that what is meant to happen, will. As it should be I came upon a powerful article articulating the very thing I have been struggling to express, even to my own self. The undertow of uncertainty surely has been a silent partner walking hand-in-hand with me in my daily life. I am uncertain about how to move forward save for the instinctual feelings I have knowing that what steps I do take today are the right steps towards my future. So that is the path I follow. But I want to share this article with you because of the power and the sentiment it exudes of the very issues I am unable to write about. “Discourses of Concealment” is an article addressing issues of survivorship and the societal relationship between illness, disease, and perfection. Though we do not talk about it, or we are not given venues to express these sentiments within the medical setting, I hope that a dialogue will begin about what it means to be a survivor, how we embrace the notions of love and acceptance after radical therapy, and how to have a meaningful life with full-bodied experiences that do not reflect upon the memories of chemotherapy and the return thereof.

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