More About Fighting Or Not Fighting

Found this article on a friend’s Facebook page and I think it’s worth sharing. Because, as I will note again below, one size does not fit all.

I’m ’fighting’ cancer because fighting is what I do, and what I’ve always done. I’m good at it. I haven’t won every fight but I don’t consider ‘losing’ shameful or something bad.

I fight knowing that there is no guaranteed win. But not fighting—not trying—is a guaranteed loss.

When I ‘fight’ cancer, I fight to remain who I am rather than have my identity subsumed by cancer. I have cancer; I am a cancer patient; I have terminal cancer; but that’s not all that I am.

As I have said, I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me.

I know that I can’t win this—i.e., beat cancer—just because I beat my chest and bellow “I‘m not dead yet!” every morning. A positive attitude does not contravene the laws of nature.

But a positive attitude will make your life worth living, whether you have a little time left or a lot.

Every resident of Cancerland has to handle theIr situation in the way that suits them best. I chose the fighting metaphor. I know I’m going down but by God, I’m going down swinging.

Other people may not like the fighting metaphor. That’s fine—one size does not fit all. I know a guy who considers cancer his dancing partner. I heard another person didn’t like the fighting metaphor because he didn’t want to think of his body as a battlefield.

All of these viewpoints are valid.

Nobody dies of cancer because they didn’t fight hard enough. They die of cancer because it’s a motherfcker of a disease science hasn’t cured yet.

But before we die, we are still who we have always been. We are living with cancer. And however a person wants to view this, they aren’t doing it wrong.

As I said, I chose fighting because all my life, I’ve fought for everything I wanted. It doesn’t mean I think everyone should use that metaphor, and it doesn’t mean I disapprove of those who don’t.

Quite honestly, I’d like to see more articles that encourage people to see themselves as still alive, still vital, and still as much a part of life as they have ever been, even if they are physically impaired in some way. I’d like to see more articles telling people they can live with cancer, regardless of how long that may be.

And I wish the picture at the start of this article was of a cancer patient sitting up, or walking outside, or reading a book, or chatting with friends, or doing anything other than lying alone in bed looking sad, as if they were waiting to die.

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10 thoughts on “More About Fighting Or Not Fighting

  1. There are some new drugs for cancer that sort of arrest it where it is- you don’t get worse but they don’t cure you, either. They are being advertised with the message of ‘living with cancer’, and the TV ads show them doing every day things- going to work, talking to the kids, drinking coffee. Up until this, I don’t remember ever seeing ads for cancer meds on TV!

    • This is exactly my situation. I am taking hormones that stabilise my cancer at a low level. I’m not in remission and I never will be. However, it’s possible that I will live with cancer for a good many years.

  2. I got my diagnosis three years ago today. Through surgery, it went away – so far as we know up to now, completely. I have my 3-year checkup in August. I was so, so lucky, because I only had to live with the knowledge and the fear for less than a month. All that time my emotions veered crazily from one POV to the other. The “fight” approach didn’t fit for me, but your point about the positive attitude making life worth living is spot-on. Thank you so much for this, and all your posts.

  3. I so wish I was closer to you, physically, because, for your words, I feel the need to hug you.
    You assured me that I didn’t need to feel badly for surviving my cancer; you’ve done more than you know in helping me to deal with my losses to cancer, when their fight was in no way enough to beat the worst demon on earth.
    It wouldn’t be a long, embarrassing hug, just enough to know you’re real and for you to know I’m sincere…about 3.7 seconds.

    Seriously, though, I love reading what you write, your musings on the ultimate fight, your fiction, hell I’d probably love your grocery lists! But you’ve become someone I admire as a person, and I’m glad you’re still around. Keep up the fight, Woman! You might be surprised to know how many of us are encouraged by your words. 😸

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