Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cancer doesn't discriminate

When I shared my “D-Day” (aka “Diagnosis Day”) details with my friends and family last year, the overriding response was “Why you?”. No one in my family has ever had cancer; I work out 2-3 times a week; I eat relatively healthy (hey, I even willingly ate kale!); and have never suffered more than a cold throughout my entire life. So admittedly, I was on the “Why me” train with the rest of them.

Here’s what the past year has taught me – why NOT me? Cancer doesn’t read the checklists. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if the “rules” show that you shouldn’t have it. It doesn’t care that you weren’t planning to get sick. It doesn’t care that you didn’t see this coming. It doesn’t care if you don’t feel strong enough to deal with it. It doesn’t care if you have a lifetime of plans and goals ahead of you still to achieve. It doesn’t care whether you’re young, old or somewhere in between. It doesn’t care if you have a loving partner or supportive friends & family that count on you. It doesn’t care if you have children at home who could not (and should not) have to imagine a life without you. It has its own agenda and truly couldn’t care less about yours.

So if these checklists don’t mean as much as we thought they did, we really only have two options. Continue to bemoan our fate and worry on what should or shouldn’t be… or make a new checklist. A checklist that allows us to take some of the power back and focus on the things that we CAN control. We fight for – and enjoy – every single minute we have.

We fight even harder knowing that there are things beyond our control.

We continue to build our bodies to be “un-cancer-friendly” environments.

We eat the foods that make cancer run in the opposite direction.

We work out to make sure our bodies are ready to fight off any intruder.

We go for regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments and we do self-exams on a regular basis.

We make sure our heads are not stuck in the sand somewhere and we arm ourselves with the knowledge that makes us powerful.

We listen to our bodies and appreciate them for all that they are and all that they give us.

We look around us and make sure we are surrounded by a positive, loving, support network.

We make sure to let this support network know how much they mean to us.

We recognize that every day is a gift and it is our choice every single day to decide whether to celebrate it or take it for granted.

We make a conscious effort not to ‘sweat the small stuff’ – compared to the thought of not being there for your family and loved ones, does anything else truly compare?

If cancer doesn’t read the checklists, then maybe it’s time to focus on a different list. Perhaps instead of focusing on the question of “Why me” we should simply focus our energies on “Me”…


  1. I really like your last line about focusing on the 'me' - your right, we pay more attention and we do our best. Every time I east tumeric I secretly feel empowered :)

  2. I too have thought the same thing when cancer hit my friend -- an athlete. I think it's a human instinct to find a reason for everything so that we can try to explain it. But cancer really does seem random. I think that's what makes it so frightening for those of us on the outside looking in.


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