Friday, February 25, 2011

Cancer is a Thief

I've spent the last few weeks so caught up in class-work that I haven't had enough brain power to spare for the little things. I haven't read a book for pleasure in ages and I haven't written a word.

My friend, Lisa, recently posted a piece about the crazy things people say to you when you have cancer. It made me start to think of many of the cliches we've all been subjected to when friends and strangers are trying to offer comfort. I don't fault most people. It's hard to know what to say and they often feel compelled to say something. Unfortunately, a multitude of people lack filters and so they say the first thing that comes to mind. I've heard some fairly shocking things and I've gotten some truly hysterical questions. One friend thought a bone marrow transplant involved having all of your blood removed and replaced with healthy blood. I did not laugh as I explained the procedure, but I howled when I was out of earshot.

The one cliche that bothers me most is, "Cancer can be a gift."

Really? If so, I'd like the receipt so that I may return it for something a little more me.

Cancer is a thief.

It siphons away your life and dominates your thoughts and time. Cancer steals your joy and robs your loved ones of their peace of mind. It may slowly creep into your life, or explode in your lap when you're having the best week of your life.

Friends who can't cope with your diagnosis slip and slink away, glad that it's you and not them.

Cancer separates you from your orderly little existence and forces you to fight for what matters. It is a constant companion, even when your body is free of the dirty little mutant cells. The word always finds a way to slither into your thoughts so that you waste precious time and energy on the "what ifs?"

Cancer robs your body. Treatments are toxic and leave a lasting impression on your organs, joints and muscles. You may have scars from surgeries or procedures.

Cancer is not a gift.


Diana said...

So true, it is a thief. Both my parents are survivors so I can only speak from the loved one's point of view, and I've found it amazing and sad how some 'friends' run for the hills. A simple "hey, how are you" can go so far. Glad Chris is healing and that you're counts are good!

Perki said...

So true, cancer owes me part of my body, time with my dear kids, and serenity.

Thank you for this post.


lisa adams said...

well said.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful writings! Well said! Totally agree with you: cancer sucks! However, going through this journey--even not our choices--does change our perspective of life. For me, I am not easily rattled any more; I am not bothered by those little things any more; I am enjoying every moment; ... The list goes on and on. Life is short, even 100 years is only a blip in the radar. This experience enriched our lives--even though not a pleasant one. No, cancer is definitely NOT a gift, but isn't it a kind of blessing?

Take care, Ann. Thinking of you often.

NJer from LLS board

Ronni Gordon said...

Great post!

So well put. In regards to Njer saying it is a blessing, NO, it's not.

The part about returning it for something that suits you better made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I can't say that my time as a cancer patient has been a blessing. My perspective on life has taken a turn for the better, yet it is hard to see cancer in a positive light when I see what it has taken away from my children and husband.

Great post, Ann.


Nancy said...

Well said Ann.

Can't say cancer has been a gift. It's changed my existence in just about every way imaginable. If it weren't for my international donor.... well, I just won't go there. I'm glad my young donor was there for me. God had a plan....

My body has never been the same. It has changed the path of many lives in my family. Leukemia hit when my boys were in high school. THey would have gone to colleges elsewhere if it weren't for the disease and the subsequent 2.5 year search for a marrow donor, not to mention the years of recovering from BMT. No, cancer has not been a gift, but we adjusted and are doing the best we can given the circumstances. We really had no alternative but to adjust and adapt.

I'll gladly get behind you in the "returns" line and exchange cancer for something suitable...

Glad Chris is recovering. Wish I could do something to speed the healing process. Sending you both love and hugs!!! n