Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fighting Cancer

What does that mean, "fighting cancer"? I've said in past Blogs that I'd fight until the end. But what exactly does that mean? Different things to different people, I suppose.

I'm fight cancer by learning as much as I can about the disease and my treatment so that I can make intelligent, informed choices that will give me the best chance of survival with everything conventional medicine has to offer.

I'm fighting cancer by strengthening my body and immune system with a strict diet, supplements, and exercise to make it harder for the cancer cells to live and multiply in my body, and to protect my healthy cells and help them recover from the damage from chemotherapy and radiation.

I'm fighting cancer with hope. After 9/11, I heard New Yorkers say they're not going to leave the city or live in fear because then, the terrorists would win. I won't personify cancer by attributing motive and intent to it, but like the terrorists, cancer can't win if it doesn't kill hope. Sure, it can destroy my body eventually, but I'm more than the sum of my body parts. As long as I have hope, I'm fighting cancer by refusing to let it destroy the life I still have.

I'm fighting cancer every time I get bad news and instead of despairing, I can pluck up the strength to console my family and friends and make them feel okay.

I'm fighting cancer every day that I appreciate the life I have and enjoy everything and everyone around me, no matter how small or big.

My sister gave me a plaque with a list of what cancer CAN'T do. It can't shatter hope or destroy friendships, or kill love, etc. The cynical side of me thinks, "Actually, it CAN shatter hope; I've seen that happen to some people. And it CAN destroy friendships; I've seen that, too." But actually, that's not so. I think Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel dumb without your permission." I think cancer can't shatter hope or destroy love without my permission. All it can do is destroy my body. But the hope, faith, and love I have can live on after I'm gone.

I hope my obituary doesn't say, "She lost her courageous battle with cancer." Too cliche and formulaic. Besides, if I died a snivelling basketcase, would they write, "Cancer whooped her butt"? I hope my obit doesn't say anything about battles or fighting, actually. I hope it just says that I died of cancer, but that I didn't let it get in the way of living, and that I had a great life and many people will remember what a lucky and happy person I was.

I'm curious... to those of you reading this Blog who are also "fighting cancer", what exactly does that mean to YOU? I'd love to know.


Anonymous said...

You're an amazing person. To me "fighting cancer" is trying to live my life without panic and fear, and to try to enjoy and appreciate what I have, particularly my friends and loved ones.

Can't wait to see you on Monday night!!

Mel xxxxxxxx

Jackie Torda said...

i was just thinking about you and though i would say hey :)
were learing about cancer in my biology class and i think its just the worst thing ever!!
miss you and hope you have a great week!!
love, jackie torda