I read the other day on an Instagram post that they viewed their Cancer as the devil (understandable) and that if you beat cancer you were a warrior. Look, I don't know, maybe its the meds that I am on but this rubbed me up the wrong way and I felt so disappointed in how survivorship is viewed this way.
Ok, hear me out.
When I first got cancer I was mad, so mad. Why me? Why do I have to go through this? Cancer sucks! and it totally does suck but I quickly shifted my mind to have a positive outlook on the situation I was faced with. I could see myself heading into a very dark space where I viewed my cancer as the 'devil' and looked at it like it was a curse or bad luck. Instead, I tried looking at it like my body wasn't coping with the environment I had been putting it in. Whether that is emotional environments or physical. Everyone has cancerous cells in their body, some detect the cells and kill it and some can't detect it. Therefore, it multiples and grows. My body has a hard time detecting the cells. I believe that is because my immune system isn't responsive and this could be stress factors, both mental and physical health, environment and generally being run down, unhappy and pushing myself too hard. These things all stop the natural flow in your body and can build up.
So as you can see, I learnt to view my cancer as a symptom, dis-ease not disease and I looked at it as my bodies way of needing change. I think because we can see how aggressive cancer can be and all the negative emotions that come with it, we feel we have to be aggressive and negative back. Don't get me wrong, there are days where I think how unfair this is, how cancer can take away peoples lives but I also strongly disagree with putting hashtags and encouragement of cancer being a fight that some lose and if you don't lose 'against' it then you are a survivor, you are a warrior, you are strong, you are a fighter. The people who lost their lives to cancer were warriors, they were strong, they did fight for their life but because they have passed these things no longer apply to them?
Maybe the way we spread encouragement is wrong? maybe we should be making hashtags that encourage healing, living a more fulfilling life, taking it day by day, having to constantly juggle between days where you wake up feeling deflated and days of feeling like you love you're life, being strong because you wear your vulnerability in front of the world, not advertising cancer patients with head scarfs...smiling with their carers and maybe showing the difficult times so we can all relate and feel like its ok to not smile with your head scarf...its ok to be vulnerable or its ok to feel insecure about not having hair - Once I went to the gym with a buzz cut and I sat in the car park amping myself up and telling myself to be strong and walk in there not caring because I beat cancer! I felt so uncomfortable afterwards and vowed to not force these things on myself again...me not 'rocking' my buzz cut like they do in the cancer commercials doesn't mean I am not strong, it means I am still adjusting, It means Im still processing the new norm.
Lets be more understanding when it comes to cancer. Lets stop pushing this warrior facade because cancer isn't just about surviving a fight, its about trying to understand what isn't working in your life and within your body. We seem to lose sight of the bigger picture and get carried away with all this aggression towards cancer. Before you start to think about how you're going to kill your cancer, try think of why it is there in the first place and work on changing your life for the better.
My acupuncturist very casually said to me "ohh yeah, so in Chinese Medicine we look at cancer/tumours as a blockage of blood and heat. Your body isn't flowing properly so you get stagnant energy. To avoid that you need to listen to your body and allow it to flow the way it needs to in order for things to run smoothly." As soon as he said that to me I stopped being scared and looking at Cancer as this evil thing, I saw it as my body needing change and I started to work on unblocking the built up energy in my body that I had ignored for so long.
My cancer journey has been going on for 3 years now. I could be so so mad about this. It has taken away 3 years of living my life, it has taken away 3 years of building my career, it has taken away my fertility - I'll never be able to have kids , 3 years of so much emotional stress on my family and not to mention 3 years of enduring hundreds of needles, procedures, poison being pumped into my body, high exposure to radiation...the list goes on and I could have so much resentment for it. But I don't. All I think about is how this has changed my life in such a big way, it's made me love my body more, seeing what it can endure, its made me appreciate every single day I am here, its made me view life differently to how society told me to view it and I have so much confidence in myself. I live a much happier life now and life for me hasn't even started yet.
The Sana Soul.