Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After most of my intensive treatment was completed, I started to redesign my new life after cancer. I immersed myself into my art. One of my goals was to have a collage published in a magazine. The first submission theme that I read about was a call for work entitled “Heroes”. I did not have any trouble interpreting what or who a hero was to me. This was my first “publishing” of my bald self. I had hair now and felt it was safe to let people see me without my hair.

My submission was not accepted to be published in the magazine. When my copy of the issue arrived I was anxious to see what Heroes had been chosen over mine. There were the Heroes that come to everyone’s mind: firefighters, soldiers, Fathers, artists, movie stars, Women, Gandhi, but there were no cancer patients or survivors. It is hard to make a pretty picture out of cancer ... cancer is not pretty.

I have to admit that before I became a cancer survivor, before the 8 rounds of chemo, the loss of hair, breasts, ovaries and dignity…..I am not sure if I would have portrayed the cancer survivor as my hero either. If I saw a person battling cancer I had sympathy for them, but now I have empathy. Empathy for my fellow warriors.

So my heroes are the ones who have come before… Andrea, Lisa, Amanda… we can learn so much from them and the countless others who have gone before. We learn to fight, cope, live and even when and how to surrender to this disease.

My heroes are those of us who are in this club, in various stages of this disease. My friend who has just entered Hospice… a friend of a friend whose breast cancer has metastasized to her spine and brain. All Mothers with Cancer who contribute to this site and those that are just visiting.

My heroes are those that will come after us, who can hopefully find comfort in some of the words and experiences that we write about here.

My Heroes…

My Fellow Warriors…

those that came before … those that will come after…

cross posted at motherswithcancer


Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

I agree with you. The definition of a hero is someone who, in the opinion of others, demonstrates noble qualities by acting properly and with courage in challenging circumstances. Heroes serve as role models for others.

Wiht cancer such a common disease, survivors who face their challenges bravely are a dime a dozen. That doesn't diminish the fact that they are heroes!

In the early 1990s ago, the notion you describe at the end of your post was symbolized at an assembly of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship: a person with one arm up and one arm down. (See

What's so cool about the Internet is it gives us many, many hands for reaching up and down.

With hope, Wendy

Anonymous said...

YOU are MY hero. I love you. -L


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