Is cancer really a gift?  For many of us, it’s certainly a gift that keeps on giving!

Not a fun topic, but seasonal nonetheless.  Read this raw and honest post by Hollye Harrington Jocobs and I’ll get back to you on the other side:

Cancer Is Not a Gift

Hollye Harrington Jacobs – Huffington Post

Nurse, Social Worker, Educator, Author

As I was Christmas shopping today, I chuckled to myself when I thought about all of the people who have said (in different iterations) to me: “Cancer is a gift. Look at what you are doing now. You would never have done this if you hadn’t had cancer.” When this happens, my cheeks instantly turn 50 shades of (not grey but) purple. I do my polite smile and take a deep breath before saying, “In. No. Way. Is. Cancer. A. Gift.”

Cancer does, however, keep on giving. At my appointment last week, my oncologist and I discussed the realistic practicality of a prophylactic oophrectomy (preventing cancer recurrence by surgically removing my ovaries), evidence of (yet) another tributary on this long, pot-holed road that is breast cancer.

The truth of the matter is that FBC is exactly what it has always been: F-bomb breast cancer. It does not have any of the markings of a traditional gift. There is no ribbon. No card. No love. No fun. And it comes with lots and lots of strings attached.

Now, I have found an immense number of Silver Linings during my experience with FBC. Maybe this is what people really mean when they use the word “gift”? I don’t know and don’t care to delve into a discussion (argument?) with anyone who thinks that cancer is a gift. I just can’t go there and am not going to “should” myself on the topic.

What I know for sure is that Silver Linings have always provided balance and perspective for me. They have not ever taken away the pain, nausea, sadness or isolation that come with cancer. The Silver Linings that I have experienced (and continue to experience!) during my cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery help me get through each and every day. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the Silver Linings, but you’ll never, ever, not in a million years hear me refer to cancer as a gift.

Now back to my Silver Lining: buying Christmas gifts with lots of ribbons, cards, love and fun!

WHEW!  But how does she really feel?

Truth be told, I fall into the “cancer is a gift” camp.  But a couple of things.  First, the only people that can EVEN SUGGEST THIS ARE FELLOW CANCER SURVIVORS.  PERIOD.  And it helps if the person sharing has the same type of cancer.

Pattie agrees with Hollye.  She HATES people that say things like “cancer is a gift,” or “cancer is a blessing.”  She feels that way about hers, mine–everyone’s!

To me, the most important point here is feeling free to express how you feel directly and honestly is what counts.  I hear and feel what you have to say, Hollye!  Can’t argue with how you feel.  Come to think about it, ME TOO!  Let’s scrap this “cancer is a gift” thing.  Are you listening, annoying healthy friend of my sister on the street?

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


3 thoughts on “

  1. Cancer is NOT a gift, it has been a curse on me and my family. Our oldest daughter died at the age of 41 of a malignant brain tumor, I have multiple myeloma and my second daughter has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to the liver and she is a single mother of two young boys and she is only 44 years old. My husband and our third daughter are more than a little overwhelmed with this.

    1. I have had a rough time with cancer in my family, too. But your experience seems almost cruel. I’m so sorry for all of the pain cancer has caused for you and your family. Sounds like you agree with the author of the post I featured today–and my wife. Myeloma and caring for a grandkids and a daughter with cancer. From what you have shared before on my other blog, I had a feeling you were tough, Cynthia. But I didn’t realize how tough. And of course its hard on your husband and third daughter. She must be racked with guilt. “Why them and not me?” I hope you can all be together tomorrow.

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