Back to Battle

There’s a discussion among people who have or have had cancer about whether to describe treatment as a battle. Some people point out that cancer is “of us,” that we shouldn’t be going to battle with ourselves. Others say that such a description results in an unpleasant dichotomy: some people win, some people lose. Some people live, some people die. Some people live, some people die. The battle metaphor may suggest that some people are to blame if they “lose.” But I reject that. Cancer doesn’t fight fair.

Maybe it’s the advocate in me or maybe it’s just me tapping into the combination of characteristics that have always served me well, but I admit it–I approach it as a battle.* I look in the mirror the morning before treatment and I wish I had war paint. And those cancer cells might be part of me, but they’re in direct violation of the number one rule of living in my body: don’t try to kill me.

So today I start two battles: one, to kill this cancer, and two, to keep on living life on my terms. The second fight probably takes the most out of me, but it’s also the very best reason to keep fighting the first. And it’s the only of the two battles over which I have any real control control.

* With the big caveat that this is a very individual perspective and I would never question the way anyone else approaches it and I always give myself permission to change

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