Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fighting for the right words

Please don't take my fight away. What if I want my war analogies, my punches, my army's and drills. What if I don't want to relinquish my battle cries and arsenals, my calvary's and loss.

I will never put words into any one else's mouth, but please don't take them from mine. 

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I hope you never do. For those of you with strong feelings surrounding "THE FIGHT", I hope that you frame your "journey, no, experience, nope, struggles, not that either" maybe, "slammed by a cancer diagnosis and trying to stay alive..." characterizations in whatever way makes you feel that you can adequately express this indescribable thing that we happen to be going through.

I believe strongly that we are each entitled to use everything we can to express ourselves.  Words just happen to be the most tractable form of articulating "the___" for most of us. But each word is a choice that can evoke strong feelings in others, often unintentionally. 

I get it, completely. I totally understand why it's so incredibly offensive to be told by others that we are battling, that when we die, we lose, that if we want to live, we need to fight. Believe me, I get it like none other. And I don't want to offend anyone who feels strongly that those words should be stricken from the cancer lexicon. But I have a long history now of fighting, and I'm not sure how to reinvent words for the experiences that I have assembled with those now offensive words. I have 'fought' along side countless friends.  They would celebrate my 'victories' as they themselves were succumbing (another word that we should consider throwing out the cancer door). They would ask me to fight for them when they were gone. They implored me to keep their fight alive. So what am I to do now? They died before the tide had turned on what now seems like an obvious, "don't make the patient feel like they are losing" group of statements. I feel at odds because their posts, blogs, and other forms of lashing out again this disease are rife with what are clearly insensitive descriptions now. And if I leave them in the past with their fight, I feel like I'm somehow betraying their memory.

For me, I don't want to be (a) patient, I don't want to be passive, I never want to be controlled by this disease, nor by how other people think I should describe it. So what does that leave me with? How can I describe my (insert verb here) with cancer without causing great offense? I will continue to honor my friends in the manner that they desperately wanted me too. I will fight for them. However, for anyone who wants me to stand with them, I will put down the weapons and (insert verb here)!

With that being said. If one more person tells me to fight the good fight, I'm going to lose my (insert noun here) with them!

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