Dr. Oransky’s comments bring to mind this Jewish teaching:
Every person has three names:
One her father and mother gave her,
one others call her,
and one she acquires herself.
Given the opportunity, here’s what I’d tell Dr. Oransky about my three names:
My father and mother named me Jane Ellen. My name in Hebrew is Yehudit bat Reuven v'Dina.
Others call me many things: Jane, Jane-O, Hane, JanetheWriter, daughter, sister, niece, colleague, friend.
Among the numerous names I’ve acquired for myself, one is “previvor.” Unlike “New Yorker,” “graduate student” or “writer,” though, it’s one I didn’t want, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and one that has caused me deep physical and emotional scars. At the same time, I’m lucky to have discovered my status as a “previvor,” grateful for the science and technology that make “previving” possible, and satisfied with the tough choices I’ve made to remain a “previvor.”