I’m Not a Cancer Warrior or Fighter, I’m a ‘Traveler’


A brain cancer survivor explains how she found a way to navigate her cancer journey as a traveler, grateful to be alive.

She is called a warrior

but there is no war.

She is called a fighter

but there is no battle.

Let’s call her a traveler.

She is on a journey,

the journey called life.

Some paths were her choice:

paths of education and career

feeling fulfillment,

paths of marriage and parenthood

finding love and wonderment,

paths of meditation and dance

feeling tranquility and peace,

paths of deep and lasting friendships

finding trust,

paths of Torah study

feeling blessings and connectedness.

One path was not her choice — the path of incurable brain cancer.

Surgery and diagnoses and uncertainty,

pricks and pokes and prods and arms bruised,

chemo and radiation and her body’s reaction and rejection.

Tests and transfusions and waiting for results,

seizure meds and steroids and sleepless nights,

endless IVs and MRIs and doctor visits.

Baldness and an electrode-and-wire covered scalp,

tethered to a device for a promise of more years.

Never letting it define her, she found ways to navigate this unchosen path.

Caring and comfort from family, friends and physicians,

smiles and laughter and the love of grandchildren,

hope and tolerance and embracing the new reality.

Patience and perseverance and positivity,

support and spirituality and serenity.

A new community of like travelers,

fundraising for research and new treatments,

giving and grace and gratitude.

Gratitude for every step of the journey.

Grateful to keep on traveling.

Grateful for the gift of life, no matter which paths it takes.

Grateful to cherish the journey for as long as it lasts.

She is not in a war.

She is not in a battle.

She is a traveler grateful to be alive,

to see more of what life can bring.

This is her journey.

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