Breast cancer as a young woman and mother.

Why I hate the word “fight” in regards to cancer, but also agree with it.

When people refer to someone that is going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment, you often hear them use the term “fight.” As someone that has been on this journey twice, I both hate that terminology, and agree wholeheartedly. It IS a fight, but NOT for the reason you might think. 

You see, this is not a fight against cancer itself. That suggests that the person going through it has some control over the outcome. It suggests that when people pass away from it they “lost” the fight. Maybe even that they somehow didn’t fight hard enough. That they weren’t thinking positively enough or doing the right things. That’s not how this works, unfortunately. Oh how I wish it was. But in reality, aside from showing up for treatment, we have very little control over what ultimately happens. 

That said, going through treatment for cancer, especially chemotherapy, IS still a fight. 

It’s a fight within yourself

It’s wrestling with the haunting thoughts and dark depression that can take over your mind and somehow finding something to be grateful for. It’s a battle to get up every day and live your life when sometimes all you want to do is curl up in a ball. When you walk back on to the chemo ward after the last round kicked your ass, chin up, holding back tears. When you stand in front of the mirror clutching a pair of hair clippers and watching your hair tumble to the floor. THAT is true fighting spirit. 

So that person you know that has or had cancer IS a warrior. Going through this forces you to be one. That is the case whether or not they die from it. And whether or not they come out with a big smile on their faces beaming positivity. 

This is not a fight against cancer. At least not a fair one. But it is a battle, every single day. 

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