The road into and through breast cancer continuously twists and turns upon itself. As soon as one piece is solved – an understanding reached, a fear laid to rest – another emerges. The jumble of emotions come unbidden: fear, anger, hope, frustration, peace, confusion, empowerment, and then it all begins again, some times in the space of a week, sometimes in the space of an hour. Sometimes we know what to do with it, often we don’t.
Along the path are so many ironies, not the least of which is we made it; our bodies created this cancer. Yes, there are environmental, familial, hormonal and lifestyle factors at play. Of course the single greatest risk factor is being a woman. But ultimately somewhere deep inside us a cell went bad. Then another and another… Yet it remains that the very cells of our body are in opposition to one another. Cancer cells are crafty. I sometimes think of them as the cockroaches of cells, managing to survive the onslaught of our own immune system, poisonous chemicals, deadly radiation, and/or starvation via endocrine therapies. Moreover, both our cancer cells and our white blood cells are seeking life.
As fellow blogger Xeni puts so well in her twitter profile, “Breast cancer isn’t something I have, but something my body is currently doing.” She is right. Cancer should, perhaps, be a verb. Far too often cancer comes to define us, when in fact it is just one of hundreds of biological processes going on within us. It may take center stage for a bit, but for us to live fully it can’t take over. If it does, it wins regardless of whether it kills us…