SURVIVOR. What does it mean to be a survivor? One definition of survivor is a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. Another definition of survivor is a person who has had a very unpleasant experience and is still affected by the experience.
In the context of childhood cancer, for us, being a survivor is an honor that carries with it an array of emotions. On the one hand, we still struggle to accept that our beautiful daughter, Adrienne, had been diagnosed with cancer in June 2012 --- “Why did cancer have to affect our 21-month-old child? Why did our child have to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, a stem cell transplant, multiple rounds of radiation, and antibody therapy? Why did she have to fight her hardest to survive cancer? And why does she have to survive other possible long-term side effects in the future?” On the other hand, we also feel so very blessed that Adrienne IS a survivor and that she is here with us. More than five years after her diagnosis, she understands what she experienced and is very proud of what she overcame. Despite what she has endured, she is a thriving, spirited, funny, loving, full-of-life child who fills our lives with happiness, hugs and kisses, and laughter.
While the physical challenges that our little survivor will face in the years to come remain unknown, we continue to honor the journey that she has already conquered. We honor the love and compassion that was shown to her and our family by all the medical staff during her treatment. We honor every day that she is alive and do not take one minute for granted. Most importantly, we honor her inner light that shines so brightly by focusing on a hopeful future.
Today, September 13, Adrienne celebrates her 7th birthday. In addition to being a SURVIVOR, she is a 1st grader who loves to sing at the top of her lungs, dance with utmost passion, draw with fervor, and enthusiastically play the piano.
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