Cancer isn’t a fight for me. I’m not battling anything. It’s not a competition, there is no trophy to take home, and really, do we call people who die from cancer ‘losers?’ No, we don’t.
I am not being courageous. I am just a woman dealing with a curve ball thrown at my life. This is temporary. Everything we think we own or have is temporary. I am one of over 13 million people who found out they have some form of cancer last year. 232,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 60,000 with non-invasive DCIS, and that’s just in the United States. Those are big numbers. These numbers tell me that I am not alone. I am now connected to every single person with cancer. I recognize their sadness, struggle, and confusion as if it was my own.
There is a very intense and deep sadness that I have experienced with my cancer. My sadness doesn’t go away. It doesn’t stop me from doing anything, or make me wallow, and you wouldn’t know it was there by talking to me. It’s difficult to put put into words. I don’t speak it or wear it, I feel it.
There is no right or wrong way for anyone to deal with cancer. It’s a very personal journey and anything goes. How I handle it is right for me, and I try not to judge anyone else’s choices. I say ‘try’ because I am far from perfect and yeah, I judge people for what I think are bad decisions. Like my friend who thought he could make melanoma go away by doing coffee enemas and getting his tonsils taken out. He died within months and I was pissed for a long time about it. I write this and realize that I’m still pissed. But it wasn’t my life, and he did what was right for him. Like I am doing what is right for me.
Absofuckinlutely! (excuse my French but there are occasions when nothing less than a good old gutteral swear will suffice!!!)
Leah, I totally applaud your honesty and I couldn’t agree more.
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Amen to that! I cringe when I hear the words “battle”, “fighting” and “lost” in the same sentence as cancer.
I struggle with this a lot when people tell me how “inspirational” I am. I’m just doing what I have to do. I can’t imagine doing it a different way.
But I do differ from you in that I do consider us – all of us – who make the choice to go through chemotherapy, radiation, etc. fighters. We have chosen a path that SUCKS and are fighting our way through it to the other side. And even if, in the end, it doesn’t work for all of us, I do believe we die heroes in a war we battled bravely.
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