Saturday, 24 January 2015

Five Things about my Cancer

Here are five things you may be thinking, saying or posting regarding my illness.  (I still have trouble calling it cancer, preferring to use the more specific "mesothelioma", or the more generic "illness")  I don't like to read or hear any of these but I'm too polite to call you out on it personally.  So I'm playing my cancer card to tell you how I feel, respectfully of course.

Battling, Fighting, Struggling, Courageous, etc.  Nope.  This cancer is part of me.  It's mine, I own it.  How can I battle something within me, even though it is an uninvited guest?  A house divided against itself cannot stand, and it takes far too much energy to treat this life-threatening illness like a marauding invader.  Don't get me wrong, this period of my life involves some challenges, but please let me focus on what it takes to manage this disease without having to, at the same time, live up to your notions of how I should behave, what level of fearlessness and good humour I should have, and what outward appearance I should portray.

Stupid Cancer, Cancer picked a battle with the wrong guy, we're going to beat this thing, etc.  What?!?  Are we creating a pagan ritual where cancer is personified and takes on a role that is larger than reality?  Is there an evil being called cancer that randomly zaps unsuspecting victims, who then gird their loins and stare down the enemy?  No, it's a disease, each time individually attacking it's host, sometimes with fatal results.  In the case of mesothelioma it is always with fatal results (unless I die of other means, like a car accident, since I do travel about 1000 km a week between work and homes in Niagara and Windsor).

It's not Fair  No it's not.  So what?  To misquote the villain in Star Wars - "you prefer another target, then name the system!"  Who did you think deserves this, or any other life threatening illness, if not me (or the person you love)?  Just the bad people?  Do yourself a favour and read the Book of Job - now there's a guy who didn't deserve what happened to him either.  Oh, and by the way, if you are a Christian please stop using the word "karma".  If you're Hindu or Buddhist, carry on.

5K Runs, T-Shirts, Ribbons and Stunts  Hey, I get that everyone has to deal with this their own way.  I mean no criticism of anyone who's ever dealt with their own diagnosis, or that of a loved one's in this way.  Please appreciate that not everyone wants to make their disease a legacy project, cause, athletic event, book or fundraising and awareness stunt.

I will Keep You in My Thoughts and Prayers  I do hope that long before you learned of my illness I was in your thoughts from time to time.  You know, like remembering a funny joke we shared or a time we got into trouble, etc.  What I need now is your prayers.  And I would like you to pray with me that God's will is done (on earth as it is in heaven.)  If that's beyond you because of your beliefs, lack of belief, refusal to believe or because of human pride, hey, that doesn't mean we're not friends.  It's just means that I'll be praying twice as hard on your behalf.

You are in my prayers.  Peace be with you.

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