It is National Cancer Survivors Day and I say ROCK ON ROCK ON ROCK ON.
I am approaching 20 years of hearing “You have breast cancer.” 20 amazing years, 20 years of sadness for those who are not here, 20 years of joy for those who have stabbed the beast in the heart, stepped over it, and are still moving on – to you I will raise a glass today.
Today I am compelled to write an article about someone who is no longer a part of my life who has twisted beliefs on why people have cancers especially women with Stage IV breast cancer.
I am a treatment based person. I believe in doing all that one can to stomp the beast out of one’s body. I believe that all those who have been given the diagnosis of a Stage IV breast cancer are truly the bravest people I have ever met. They are in treatment every day of their lives. They do things to stay here not just for themselves, but for their families, for their friends, for strangers too.
In my world of cancer I know many who are diagnosed with a Stage IV breast cancer. I know angry women, I know women who rock on, I know those who celebrate daily, I know those who write with humor. They come in all sizes and shapes of emotions in living daily with Stage IV breast cancer.
They would be appalled if I had continued to have a relationship with someone who says that it serves one to have Stage IV disease. I was appalled. The first time I heard those words I had been discussing a lovely young woman who was dying. She was surrounded by support and love. She had people visiting, cleaning her house, cooking for her family, taking her to doctor appointments, and I was so touched by the outpouring of love in her life. Imagine my shock and awe when I shared this and was met with “It serves her well to have cancer.”
I asked why those words were said and I was told that my dying friend wouldn’t have all the support if she did not have cancer. That having cancer brought more love and friendship into her life and that it served her.
It happened over and over again. I mentioned that someone we both knew had chemo weekly and her friends would come with her. They would dress up, have a lovely catered lunch, and put themselves in a different place in their minds than a chemo room. Once more I was told that it served this lovely woman to have cancer.
Appalling isn’t it? I was eventually told these women did not “need” cancer, they could get it out of their lives but it served them to have it.
Needless to say we don’t talk any longer.