I was recently reading part of Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, a book written by a young woman with a rare cancer who has extensive cancer involvement in both her liver and in her lungs. Her cancer has not gone away, but has also not progressed for several years. She has been living with and in spite of her cancer for awhile. I communicate with a few who are in similar circumstances. They have lower grade appendix cancers and have never eradicated the disease. They have lived with cancer for many years as a chronic illness. They periodically have surgeries or chemo to stall the disease for awhile longer.
While I don’t follow the author’s alternative/complementary lifestyle, I loved a few things I read in the beginning of her book. She said that cancer is NOT a gift, that she hates the “G-word” in regards to cancer. That’s what made me truly dislike the country song “Live Like You Are Dying”, the song people sent me the lyrics to that seemed to promote the cancer “gift” mentality. Somewhere in the world the idea was presented that cancer is a gift, that it makes us value our health and our relationships and our lives more and always results in a positive life experience and outcome. That is so untrue. Cancer is a horrible disease that robs us of our normal lives, that causes us pain and heartache and financial difficulty, that takes over our lives and often obliterates our goals and our life plans. It steals our time and our choices. Nothing “gift-like” about it. We search for meaning in the experience in an attempt to make some kind of sense out of the destruction it wracks in our lives. Cancer is an enemy, a ruthless dictator, a destroyer. Cancer is not a gift.
I loved another analogy she used in her book. That our lives are like a four-legged stool. The four legs are our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. If any of the four legs weaken, we topple. A cancer diagnosis effects all of our four legs at once. We really need to pay attention to our spiritual, emotional and mental health while trying to survive cancer. They are all equally important, though our physical leg seems to get all of the attention at first and for a long while after diagnosis. I’ve communicated with almost 400 appendiceal cancer patients, and I’m here to tell you that physical pain and comfort are not the main topic of most of my conversations with cancer patients…..it’s the emotional, spiritual and mental trauma the disease causes that afflicts us so horribly. Our hearts, minds and spirits are always in more pain than our bodies.
I hope one day we see a cure for cancer, that it forever loses it’s power to destroy. That there will one day be no need for my web site or blog.