In the past 24 months, I’ve read dozens of articles on the subject of cancer metaphors and in particular their use in describing cancer experiences with the words ‘fight’, ‘battle’ and other ‘military’ sounding terms. The authors say that perhaps this is not the best language to use. One author used the term ‘violence’ to describe these type of metaphors. A ridiculous misrepresentation of the metaphor in my opinion.
Let me put my cards right on the table as I would hate to twist the meaning of words or the inference of any metaphors I might use. I don’t like Cancer – it attacked me, it attacked my family, it attacked others I know, it has killed people I know……. it has killed millions of people and changed many lives. I’m ‘fighting’ Cancer. I’m in a ‘battle’ with Cancer.
But I don’t mean all that in any ‘violent’ way………. Dear trendy writers, please stop misinterpreting what language people use for your own trendy populist purposes.
One of the arguments used by these ‘trendy’ writers and newspaper authors against the use of what they perceive to be ‘military’ or ‘violence’ metaphors, is that people die of Cancer and therefore they are seen to have ‘lost’ their battle or fight. Clearly, it’s sad when anyone dies of any illness.
We all die at some point, ‘life’ eventually kills us. Yet, few people are reported to have lost their fight with life. So why focus this “fight” debate on cancer?
I have access to ‘reinforcements’ and ‘allies’; and their ‘weapons’ in my battle with cancer. There are many options including surgical strikes with invasive and minimally invasive forays. The use of WMTD (weapons of mass tumour destruction) is authorised if applicable, i. e. I have chemical and nuclear options. Using these ‘weapons’ and deploying them both strategically and tactically, I can put up the best fight possible and by adjusting the disposition of my ‘forces’ when required, I can delay the advance of the ‘enemy’, protect my flanks and force it to change its course or retreat.
Not happy with infiltrating your body, Cancer also wants to take advantage of your fragile state by playing with your mind. It does this by creating the illusion of an uncertain future, makes you worry about your family and makes your family and friends worry about you. I’ve therefore also deployed a psychological warfare capability to counter this threat. It’s a weapon known as ‘a positive mindset’.
If it finally gets me, I know I’ll have tried my best and I will go down fighting hoping to be mentioned in despatches. I certainly do not see this as a defeat and anyone who knows me will not think that either. I know that others will carry on the ‘fight’ in my absence until Cancer is defeated (and it will be defeated).
Just my approach, please don’t take offence as none is intended.
I believe people quite naturally ‘fight’ in their own way and there are even parts of the human anatomy whose job it is to fight illness and infection without us even realising they are doing it. You can read thousands of technical medical articles where they use this language about how our immune system ‘fights off’ disease and infection. So whether we like it or not, our bodies are ‘fighting illnesses’ and we cannot stop them doing it.
Your body fights without you knowing it – it’s natural.
In fact, to ‘fight’ has many contexts and not just the contrived ones used to argue against use of these metaphors. If you check the Oxford/Cambridge dictionaries (the Supreme Headquarters of the English language), you will see that ‘fight’ has numerous meanings including “to struggle to overcome, eliminate or prevent” or “to strive to achieve or do something”. What that means is that some people will use the word fight to describe the ability to get out of bed in the morning, to walk to the local shops, to go to a restaurant for a meal. Fighting to see a doctor who understands their cancer, fighting for access to the best treatment, fighting when you think someone isn’t listening. I fight cancer by writing a blog. The context is really important.
As for me, I have no intention of ceasing the use of words such as ‘fight’ and ‘battle’ in my war of words with Cancer. It’s my way of coping.
I’m loving this article – Cancer Ninja
Read this post to know why – WHY I FIGHT
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Certain popular ideas about how cancer starts and spreads – though scientifically wrong, can seem to make sense, especially when those ideas are rooted in