Where did the time go? Oh right—surgery, chemo, radiation, moving houses, raising kids, COVID. Here’s what I’ve learned, 12 months on.

Survivor: A person who copes well with difficulties in life. A breast cancer survivor? I don’t think a woman diagnosed with the disease ever fully expects to hear those words—or can even imagine when she’ll actually feel like a survivor instead of a fighter. But a person who copes well with difficulties in their life, well, that is something I can fully relate to.

If you’re just now joining my journey, I’m so glad you’re here. You can read about my breast cancer, starting with The Day I Heard I Had Breast Cancer and everything else including the Top 9 Tips and Tricks That Help Me Through Breast Cancer and What To Do When Your Chemo Is Delayed.

I want to be honest with you: The word survivor is still very hard for me to process, even one year later. But that is why this piece is so important for me to write. Because I am a survivor. I am a breast cancer survivor. You know the old expression, “The more you say it, the more you start to believe it.” Well, that’s where I’m at. So bear with me if you hear the word survivor a lot right now.

For those of us who are survivors, take a moment and look at that word. Because, you my friend, deserve it. We fought through one of the toughest battles we never thought we’d fight. We fought through tears and tear-stained pillows; not to mention pillows covered in our dearly departed hair #thankschemo. We fought through weighing second opinions and blood tests (many, many blood tests). We fought through scan-xiety, also known as the panic you feel every time you go in for a follow-up scan. We fought through long chemo days and messed-up taste buds. We fought through surgeries and drains. We fought through happy tears when playing with our children and trying to think about the future. And even the short radiation days where sometimes it didn’t even feel like a cancer treatment appointment. We fought through the radiation redness and everything in-between that I know I missed. BUT WE ARE HERE. We are survivors.

Read the rest of this post over in my award-winning column Tales From The Chemo Chair at HealthCentral

You can also check out the entire column starting with The Day I Found Out I Had Breast Cancer.