Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's all about control

A woman whose blog I read is being treated for a recurrence of cancer. Of course it brought back all my fears. She mentions people telling her she should be strong or have a positive attitude.

I am so tired of hearing this. A positive attitude does not affect cancer outcomes.

But, we so want it too. If we are suffering from cancer (and aren't irredeemably mean and nasty like me), we want it to be so. We want to have some control.

If we are not suffering right now, we so want it to be true. We want to save our mother, sister, brother, father, son, daughter, friend. I think even more we want to tell ourselves that it can't happen to me. Or if it does, it won't kill me. I have a good attitude.

The other thing that drives me crazy is that we can save ourselves from cancer by making life style choices. Well, yes, we reduce our risks by not smoking. But not smoking does not mean that we won't get lung cancer. You might have never smoked or been around smokers and lung cancer may strike. On a broad scale, there are things people can do, but it won't save individuals. Exercise, eating right, herbal remedies.

Yes, I'm still angry. I'm angry about the stuff I read, particularly by people who have never had cancer. I'm sure people are well meaning, but it really doesn't help.

We want to be in control of our lives. But we are not. As my son reminds me, it is probably more likely that I will be killed by a crazy Memphis driver than die from cancer.

And so, I want to be present every moment. I want to live every moment. I want to enjoy what I have been given. I want to love those around me. (And there's a very long list of places I want to go.) I want to do what I can to be healthy, knowing that ultimately it is not in my control.

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