Exercise helps survivor think about how far he's come

By Cory Cross

The word “survivorship” means a second chance for me. It means I understand the importance of good health and can appreciate it. Some people go their whole life taking their health for granted, which is an easy thing to do. After being confronted with cancer and the side effects of treatment, I can certainly wake up every morning thankful and happy that cancer is in my past, and I have a new day to look forward to with better choices. I chose this picture of myself, taken in 2006, filming my friends rollerblading, because filming and rollerblading are both a huge part of my life. I have other hobbies that I am passionate about, but when I film, I become completely submerged in the process. I also chose this photo because of my big hair and because it shows two of my favorite things in the world - filmmaking and rollerblading. Survivorship means a second chance. It’s a realization that no moment is guaranteed, and for whatever reasons - the mystery, God, the doctors at Penn State Children’s Hospital, luck or maybe a bit of all of that - I am here now. I am thankful to be here and living a healthy life.

Expression through photography

With this exercise, spend some time thinking about the word “survivor” or “survivorship” and what it means to you. Find something that represents that definition in your daily life and take a picture of it. Spend a few moments looking at the photo and write down why you chose it, what survivorship means to you, and what the experience of focusing on your photo and survivorship means. This exercise can help you take a deeper look inside yourself, identify what triggers memories of your cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, as well as the nature of those memories. Photography is a powerful tool and in this way, it can be used for self-expression, to gain insight, and to encourage reflection. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. We hope that by using this tool you gain a better understanding of your relationship with your survivorship and that it helps you tell your individual story - for yourself or for others if you choose to share.