When diagnosed with cancer, after the initial shock, your mind then settles in on the question: “What really is cancer?” You get answers from the scientific and medical communities such as: “in summary, cancer is the abnormal growth of cells caused by the deregulation of cells.” …What?
“The entire process of initiation, promotion, and progression by which healthy cells turn into cancer cells is called carcinogenesis.”….What?
“Cancer is an invasive, uncontrolled replication of abnormal body cells. According to the ‘two-hit’ theory, the progression to cancer requires initiation (the first hit) followed by promotion (the second hit). Initiation is the resultant damage to the DNA in a gene, which passes the faulty instructions on to subsequent cells.”… What?… Huh?
After diagnosis, your treatment begins. Then you find out what cancer really is. Cancer is a rude travel companion.
The medical and scientific definitions are fine when it is “a” cancer; but, they are totally inadequate when it becomes “your” cancer. I learned this perspective from a preview chapter of a draft of Nancy Stordahl’s book You Have “A” Cancer.
From Stoedahl’s book::
“Well, there is a cancer there, your biopsy tested positive,” he tells me in a voice I find to be too calm, too detached and too familiar with giving such news. I wonder why he calls it “a” cancer, not just cancer, like it really matters. (You Have “A” Cancer part one)
“I don’t feel anything evident in your lymph glands so your cancer probably hasn’t spread,” he says.
Hearing him call it “your cancer” sounds out of place. It forces me to realize this cancer indeed “belongs” to me. Such ownership feels unimaginable.
I don’t want to own my cancer. (You Have “A” Cancer part two)
It is Sally M. Knox, M.D. in her book, Breast Cancer Care Book, who best defines cancer: “Cancer is a rude travel companion, bringing with it several suitcases stuffed to overflowing with stress and enhancers and expecting you to carry the luggage! It demands to have its own way and has no concern for the itinerary you had created for yourself. It doesn’t care that your family has needs, that you are trying to hold down a job or advance your career, that its presence strains your relationships with those closest to you. It’s indifferent to the physical, emotional, and spiritual havoc it wreaks. It sets its own schedule and pays no attention to your pleas to stop for a break.”
Cancer is rude.
Cancer is selfish and manipulative.
Cancer is dysfunctional.
Cancer is stubborn.
Cancer is pessimistic.
Cancer is antisocial.
Cancer is a thief.
Cancer steals your time.
Cancer likes to challenge the status quo.
Cancer is a gossip who plants lies in your mind.