Follow this brief touching story, that teaches you what’s right to say to a cancer diagnosed. ”My dad passed away from prostate cancer when I was 18. His diagnosis wasn’t optimistic, but I tried to be. I vividly remember waiting in line at a Souplantation not long after he’d shared the news and telling him, “Dad, it’s OK, you’re so strong, you can beat this.”
”My dad was a primary care physician, who took it in stride, nodding good-naturedly at me and my little sister. But he knew it was unbeatable at that point. Thirteen years after his death, I’m still regretting that very moment. I berate myself over those words because they quietly imply that cancer is a win-lose battle and that you’ve somehow “lost” if the disease overtakes you.”
”The idea that you can “beat” something as insidious as cancer perpetuates the myth that the patient is wholly responsible for their recovery, not a human caught up in an endless cycle of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and relapses. And if they don’t beat it? That’s failure.”
”But as a daughter, this totally cliched language made perfect sense: Even today, my dad lingers in my mind like a real-life Superman, a man who competed in bodybuilding contests in Southern California (at a time when Asian-American participants were few and far between), published a popular bodybuilding magazine, then went on to help patients fight ailments as a general practitioner.
”In my magical-thinking stupor after his diagnosis, a fighter is what I wanted my father to be most. And what else are you supposed to say when a loved one is going through something as harrowing as a cancer diagnosis?
“Let’s fight this, you can beat this” is a common refrain among family and friends of cancer patients, said BJ Miller, a hospice and palliative care specialist who treats hospitalized patients with terminal or life-altering illness at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center said.
“I think we fall back on these statements for a few reasons, mostly habit, sometimes, people aren’t really thinking when they say it. These tend to be moments of gesture more than dialogue.” Said BJ Miller.
Like BJ Miller noted, traditionally, we all like to put ourselves very far away from death.
“It helps to feel tough when you’re feeling weak, we demonize cancer so we can mobilize the fight.” BJ Miller said.
We’re only human, and as human we all will eventually grow old and lose our respective fights, though is may not be cancer, our bodies will get weak and will not be able to perform as normal.
BJ Miller remarked. “That’s something we all collectively have to come to terms with, I think we’re starting to realize that we need a different construct than ‘beat cancer’ lest we make ourselves or others out to be losers for doing what we all have to do.”
And the fact remains that cancer is a veritable attack on a person; cancer cells grow and divide, grow and divide, ad nauseam, forming tumors that wreak havoc on the immune system. Your body is literally at war with itself you must note.