This entry was written by Randi Rentz. Randi finds writing about her breast cancer journey very healing:
Now that I’m three years out of Cancerville and my brain has adjusted from chemo brain (sort of), it’s time to broach the topic that has been on my mind since the time of diagnosis. I haven’t brought it up because it’s…well, it’s anti-establishment – in a BIG way.
Here goes: I have never seen my journey through breast canceras a “Fight”.
There. I said it. Do I feel better? You betcha (not to quote Sarah Palin, or anything).
I mentioned my feelings to a few friends early on in my treatment who responded either by huffing and puffing or by poo-pooing my belief, assuming that my outrageous notion is a by-product of chemobrain, pain meds, or just the general roller coaster of feelings that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis.
However, I still ardently believe that I have never been absorbed in a fight with breast cancer.
Is this terrible? Yes. Is this a battle that continues in my mind? Yes, of course. Definitely.
But, I still believe I was never in a “fight”.
Our culture is full of cancer “fighting” messages, e.g., ”cancer fighting foods” and “cancer fighting treatments or therapies” and “cancer fighting strategies” like getting enough sleep and exercise. While going through my treatment, people told me “fight the good fight” as if I were Mike Tyson.
Every time I heard the word “fight” it always made me flinch. I fully acknowledge that these “fighting” wishes come from very well-meaning people, aiming to cheer me on and give me strength while in my pink-bubble.
Quite simply: I’m not a fighter.
Now, that’s certainly not to say that I’m submissive. Far, far from it. In fact, the image of myself as meek makes me hysterical. I’m self-confident. Resilient. Strong-minded. Candid. I stand up to maltreatment and don’t take S**T from anyone.
In my life-time, I’ve seen many “fighters”. They love to pick a fight and then go full throttle. Shouting. Screeching. Smoke coming out of their ears. Fighters. You look at them and see foam coming out of their mouths. I have never understood how someone could live this way.
I truly feel fighting is very different from the emotion of rage or anger. Anger is, I believe, a very healthy emotion. You’re shocked, right? Well, keep reading. When I’m really fuming about something, which does happen from time to time, I acknowledge it, receive it, show gratitude, and then graciously ask it to go away. Anger isn’t something that I’m fond of investing in for lengthy phases of time. It gives me a stomach ache.
So, if I’m not “fighting” what have I been doing for the past 3 years?
I’ve been channeling my “get-up-and-go” and thinking positively. I’ve been giggling more (at myself, mostly). I’ve been putting my feet up. I’ve been learning to “let things go.” I’ve been making an effort to do things that I’ve never done before (e.g., writing).
Fighting, to me, has a tremendously derogatory undertone. Don’t you think?
Why add insult (fighting) to injury (cancer)?
My philosophy is to focus on the constructive components and make the negative or anger less significant.
And another thing. In my 6 years of helping my father through vascular and cardio disease, never once did I tell him to “fight”.
Why, I wonder, are people with cancer the only patients who are told to “fight”? I’ve never understood this.
I always wondered if patients are somehow to blame because they “lost the fight”? It almost seems punitive to suggest that they “lost”. As if they had something to do with it.
It was never suggested that patients with vascular disease, for example, “lost” some kind of “battle” like my father did.
There is clearly no right or wrong here. Each person decides how they will handle their own situation and ailment process. My primary expectation is that no matter which road is chosen that you are able to find peace inside the ring or out.
Do you, like Randi, find it difficult to associate breast cancer with battle-related terms? Why or why not? Comment here or on our Facebook page.