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Survivorship allows me appreciate the storms in my life and to be even more thankful for the rays of sunlight while I look for the rainbows. Being a survivor is a privilege- because being a survivor means that I live.

The word survivorship has a variety of meanings to different people. Some believe that being a survivor means responsibility. Others may even associate it with guilt. Survivorship has a barrage of meanings to me too. It is an unmeasurable blessing. It is an unexplainable giJ-t from God. I know that I can only adequately describe the depth of what survivorship means to me if I try to convey it with all my senses. To me, survivorship has a smell, a taste. a sound. a look, and most importantly. a feeling. Survivorship has a Bible verse. It has a soundtrack and even a visual.

When I think of survivorship, the words from the book of Luke reverberate in my ears “To whom much is given, much is required.” According to my pathology report, the proliferation rate for my brain tumor was greater than ninety percent. My brain tumor was attached to the most critical portion of the most essential organ of the human body – my brainstem. Though initially given a grim prognosis, I am here living in the bliss of survivorship. I know that I have been given much: I feel compelled to require much or myself and to strive to live a life of integrity and service.

To me survivorship also has a soundtrack. “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John and “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child would both be featured songs on this soundtrack for obvious reasons. However, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miserables sometimes creeps into my playlist, because you cannot think of surviving something without grieving for those who did not. Thus. there are moments when survivorship is accompanied by “Why me?” I mean why I was so blessed. Why did I live when many others died? Why do I have a relatively normal life, while cancer has changes the lives of others in such devastating ways? Though I cannot answer these questions, I truly feel that God has left me here for a profound reason; therefore, my life must be filled with purpose.

Survivorship has a visual for me too. lt is the photo of the six soldiers raising the flag in lwo Jima. The war waged against cancer is comprised of a series of innumerable battles fought by countless soldiers. Just like with every battle in every war, causalities are a brutal result. I feel like one of the lucky six pushing the flag upright. I am a survivor. l am one who knows the feeling of survivorship but I will never forget those who were lost in this vicious war. Cancer is a vile, evil, and heartless adversary; however, I know that we can finally raise the flag adorn with the word “cure” someday if we just keep fighting.

Survivorship allows me to see the clouds forming and to smell the rain even before I feel it rolling down my face. Survivorship allows me to toss my head back and taste the droplets as they fall. Survivorship allows me appreciate the storms in my life and to be even more thankful for the rays of sunlight while I look for the rainbows. Being a survivor is a privilege- because being a survivor means that I live.