We say or hear things like “kick cancer’s butt,” “win the war against cancer,” “conquer the disease,” and “slay this enemy!”
One has proclaimed, “beating cancer is a personal battle.” It’s enormously personal, alright, but is it a battle? This is my question to reflect on today.
I find it curious that with cancer, as with few, if any, other diseases, we so often frame the treatment and healing process as a battle.
Would we say, “beating this broken leg is a battle?” or “beating my psoriasis is a battle?” Well, maybe some would, I dunno.
But I wouldn’t.
Cancer is only going to be a chapter in your life, not the whole storyJoe Wasser
And, please, if for you reading this, being the warrior fighting a battle works to keep you positive, motivated to get you through the demanding day-to-day, then by all means, you do you! I do not intend to diminish anyone’s personal way of coping with this monstrous disease.
These thoughts I share apply to me, and maybe to some others in my shoes, too. And for those not personally touched by cancer, I intend them to be thought-provoking, not judgmental.
Throughout history, when we’ve started a war or went into battle, we went in prepared and expecting to win. And for the other side to lose. Win or lose; those were the options–no negotiation towards a common ground.
Then, should we not win, we were named the loser. And who ever wanted to be the loser? The winner takes all. History has always been written by the winners.
Yet throughout the years, in life and business, I’ve endeavored to reach win-wins, to find solutions that benefit everyone involved and achieve a common good.
As a pacifist, I’m not at all stirred in any positive sense by militaristic language. As I’ve said so many times, in so many contexts, words matter.
The words we use shape the way we see the world and then act in it.
Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.Yehuda Berg
I’m not attracted to weaponry. Weapons are intended to maim or kill or do damage. They don’t have the same function as tools, which are used to create and build and fix.
I’m not comfortable with the arbitrary option of “victim” or “survivor” either. Those words speak to identity, much like “loser” or “winner.”
Nah. I’m a tough cookie. Except for the cancer, I’m fine.Lisa Scottoline
From the moment I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was committed to work together with the medical professionals I chose to try to “fix” whatever could be fixed with today’s knowledge and protocols. I knew nothing was certain yet I decided to follow the current science and let go of the outcome.
But whatever happens, I know with absolute certainty that I’ll not end up a loser. Along with my doctors doing the best they can with the tools they have, we will either fix my body or we won’t.
Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.Jim Valvano
Today, a cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence, as it once not so long ago often was. There are better tools to fix the body; for some for a shorter term, for others a much longer term.
One thing is assured—one day I will die. Whether that is from cancer or something else remains to be seen. Dying is a natural outcome of birth.
And in-between I live.
At present I live while undergoing anti-cancer treatments. But I live, I don’t fight. I cope with good days and not-so-good days, but I don’t battle. I live to love, not to wage war.
My peace of mind—and lack of fear—will get me through this chapter.
When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer, you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.Stuart Scott
I’m curious how my perspective on the words we use to describe treating cancer lands with you. Does it make you think? Do you agree with me? If not, why not?