There was a Tweet recently along the lines of, ‘Dear media, stop characterizing a death from cancer as a “battle”.’ If I deciphered their Tweet correctly, their rationale was that it can’t be won, so using such a term is somehow (politically?) incorrect.
I call BS.
My mother characterized her fight as a battle. And my father and I were the enlisted troops to support her.
So f*** anyone who wants to lecture me on how this should be stated. You have your viewpoint, and I have mine. Don’t get on your high horse about it, thanks.
And coming from a family where we have “won” against the big C a few times, all I can say is: fight it if you choose.
If you want to believe it’ll take you and you want to give up, that is your choice.
If you want to characterize it as a battle and have some hope, that is your choice.
This isn’t clear-cut, like so many other things.
My mother fought it very bravely. She wasn’t given that long and she beat every prediction. If she had given up from the start, to meet some prediction, who knows if things would be different? The day she died the X-rays showed no cancer in her lungs and her blood tests were normal. It appeared that we had beaten the primary.
But sadly, it had spread elsewhere, to places where medicine couldn’t reach.
In fact, she only knew about it because of back pain—like Olivia Newton-John’s third diagnosis.
About six weeks before it took her, Mum said to me, ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it.’
I was a dumb kid in denial so I said, ‘Nonsense, I think you can do it.’ (As this was in Cantonese, I would have started with ‘大吉利是.’)
With hindsight, I envy some of those families who have managed to say their farewells, but you can’t turn the clock back.
On the morning about an hour and a half before she died, I said—to God, to my inner voice, to my spirit guide, to whatever you want to call it—‘Screw this, no one should have to go through this sort of pain.’
Maybe that was letting go or accepting it. And not long after she was gone with Dad and me at her bedside.
So may I say in all sincerity, win or lose, fuck cancer.