Name: Carlenne Jarvis
Where I live: Wixom, MI
How far out of active treatment?: Two years from my third cancer
1996: IDC breast cancer (Stage 1/2) with lumpectomy and radiation.
2008: Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma with three rounds of R-CHOP21 chemo and radiation.
2017: Mucinous carcinoma breast cancer (Stage 1) with lumpectomy and radiation.
What does the word 'survivor' or 'survivorship' mean to you?
I don’t like the word(s). I had a disease, I did what I needed to do to make it go away. I didn’t do anything special.
If you had to describe what survivorship feels like in three words, what would they be?
Cancer fucking sucks, cancer treatments really fucking suck. Living after cancer is a balancing act.
What's one thing you wished people outside of the cancer community understood about survivorship?
It’s not done when it’s done. You worry about any ache, pain, or mark.
What are some things that have helped you during this time?
Attitude is everything. That was my mantra. Do your research, find out about your disease, be able to talk to your medical team in their terms. Be. Your. Own. Best. Advocate.
Biggest survivorship pet peeve?
Judgment of my treatment plan. None of your fucking business, people.
What, if anything do you think should be done more in the cancer community in terms of survivorship?
Education. What to worry about, what to let go in terms of health.
What's your favorite swear word?
Fuck. It releases so much emotion!
What's something you haven't said out loud about survivorship that you want to get off your chest? If there's nothing, that's ok.
Your partner/spouse may look at you differently after, and it might be forever.
Consider this a free space to say anything you want about this topic. Word vomit, away. No judgement. I want the realest of the real here.
More on attitude because attitude is everything! Be positive, be proactive, don’t just let things happen. Go on living like you’re living! And good Lord people, don’t be sheep. Use the fucking internet for good: do the research, know your disease, keep up on it. Your doc doesn’t know your body and they can’t keep up on everything. You need to be on top of this for yourself. Yes, cancer may come back, so look into what to be concerned with, what to let go, find a balance. Make a deal with yourself about how much you’re going to worry, because you are. My deal is that if I notice a problem, I wait a week. If it’s still there, I go see the doctor (obviously this doesn’t apply to serious things).