Saturday, March 13, 2010

battling cancer

i am trying to understand the language we have built around cancer. first, when exactly do i become a survivor? and am i surviving cancer or cancer treatment?

and then there are the words "fight" and "battle," as in "she is fighting cancer."

i think we use words like this because it sounds noble to be "battling" or "fighting" cancer, and gives the impression that we have some control. when, really, we have none.  in fact, i have never been so passive in my life as i have throughout this experience. all i do is what i am told to do. other people, you could say, are "fighting" my cancer for me, but i am pretty much just lying there, often literally.

"in submissive acquiescense, she showed up for whatever horrible treatment was recommended" somehow just doesn't sound as good.

1 comment:

  1. I've had the same feelings. I'm not fighting, just putting up with it all . . . and trying not to let cancer define me. I suppose I'm a survivor now because I'm proclaimed cancer-free. I'm breast-free too. None of it feels really free though. The last time I was free, I was blissfully unaware of cancer's affect on me.

    Also, do they ever really know if it's gone? No. Do they ever really know it won't return? No. So it's not like a survivor of a plane or car crash.

    A nurse said something to me about the process of moving from a victim to a survivor. I guess that's the idea in theory. I suppose it's different for each one of us all in reality.