Meet Allison Biver
I have been forever changed, and I appreciate the smallest triumphs because of these overwhelming tragedies. I am a survivor.
My mother, fearing for my recovery, worried about her own. My mom fought multiple bouts with cancer – three separate times. Remission from a brain tumor before I was born, breast cancer during my toddler years, but ultimately her brain tumor resurfaced when I turned eight. By eight years old, I sadly understood cancer’s effect; something is deftly wrong when an eight-year-old comprehends the ramifications of a cancer diagnosis. “Why our family?” was my question, and guilt immediately followed. My best friend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away. As much as I thought I understood cancer, I was wrong. I naively believed diagnosis was followed by treatment and then recovery ensued. As I said, I was young. My best friend losing her mom during fifth grade was jarring; someone I knew, diagnosed with the same disease my family endured and overcome, died. I thought I had cancer figured out – wrong again. Why did she lose her battle with cancer, but my mother and I survived? This should be where I impart insight or a profound lesson, where my essay ends, but no.
Cancer struck again. A very close friend was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. He was a senior in high school at the time of diagnosis – a senior! First, he lost his leg to amputation, but ultimately, he lost his life. He was not an older person or friend of a friend. He was young, and he was my friend. I was devastated.
Often, I feel my life and cancer are forever intertwined with no path toward extrication. Cancer has been a mainstay, commonplace, too prevalent, too destructive; hatred coupled with sorrow are associated with the “C” word. Cancer has taken so much from me, my family, my friends, and my small community. I remain distraught for loved ones who have lost their battles with cancer, but conversely, I begrudgingly acknowledge gratitude for being a cancer survivor and still having my mother – odd but honest.
The words, “cancer sucks”, do not begin to describe the pain cancer has caused in my life and the lives around me, but I contend as a survivor my perception and priorities are different. I celebrate every win and learn from every loss. I treasure every relationship and document the most irrelevant occasions. I cherish memories and anticipate future endeavors. I hug family often and take no one for granted. I have been forever changed, and I appreciate the smallest triumphs because of these overwhelming tragedies. I am a survivor.