Language is powerful. Words have meaning, and what we speak has the ability to alter how we experience the journey.
Fight language is familiar
My cancer journey began in May 2016. It has certainly been a roller coaster ride. There have been ups and downs, twists and turns, and even a few loops where it felt like I was completely upside down. One of the lessons I have learned is that how we speak matters. Language is powerful. Words have meaning, and what we speak has the ability to alter how we experience the journey.
People often speak of “fighting cancer.” There is something empowering about envisioning ourselves going to battle against the cancer cells seeking to destroy our bodies. When chemo day rolls around, the image of fighting can help us muster that last ounce of strength so we can make it to the appointment.
Family and friends often speak about me “fighting the good fight.” They marvel at how I continued to work five years post-diagnosis while undergoing treatment. Once out on disability, the comments spoke of how I continued the “fight” and found ways to build community and work for the common good.
What if we talked about Living?
I understand the fight language. It fits our culture and communicates one piece of a cancer patient’s journey. A part of me resists (even outright rejects) the idea of “fighting cancer” and prefers to talk about “living with cancer.” It may sound like semantics, simple word games, but for me, the change in language unleashes a new way of living. Let me share why the change from fighting to living is so significant. [Read more…]