Faith, Battle, Positivity and Other Irritants
I have always been a person of deep faith. I don\'t go to church like I should, to say the least, but my faith is very strong. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I guess the idea that I would likely be meeting my Maker sooner rather than later caused my faith to become even deeper. Whatever the cause, my faith runs deep and it is very important to me. Studies find that many people find that their faith strengthens in the face of a cancer diagnosis.1 But, certainly, not everyone with cancer shares the same belief system.
"You\'re in my prayers"
It is not uncommon for me to say, "I will pray for you" or "You are in my prayers" to someone who is facing difficulties. For me, that is comforting. I believe in the power of prayer. When I say it, I mean it with all sincerity. It is often the only way I feel like I can actually help someone who has been told their cancer is advancing, that they are losing their job, or that has gotten some other worrisome news. I never intend to offend someone with that statement, but unfortunately, it can and does irritate those who do not believe in prayer or the same God as I worship. It can feel like proselytizing to those who have different beliefs.
There are other irritants that we face as we deal with our cancer, besides the disease itself. Everyone, I think, has at least one thing that makes their skin crawl when they hear it.
My lung cancer \'tribe\'
I\'ll start with what currently makes me craziest. It is a word that is gaining popularity. I hadn\'t heard it until earlier this year, but now I seem to hear it all of the time. It is the word "tribe." That word makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I tense when I hear it used. It is an irrational response to a simple word that is comforting to some people. For me, it is like fingernails scraping across a blackboard.
I think the reason I hate the word so much is that the first time I saw it used, someone was talking about how important their lung cancer "tribe" was to them ... and I hadn\'t been included in that "tribe." It hurt my feelings a lot. So, now I cringe when I hear the word, even if I am part of the "tribe" being discussed.
\'Fighting\' lung cancer
A lot of people don\'t like the words "fight," "battle," and "combat." One person rightly said, "It\'s not a fair fight," when mentioning how much she dislikes those metaphors. I am sorry to say, I use those analogies frequently. I realize they may offend some people, but I\'m not sure of a better way to phrase what we go through with cancer. For me, I am fighting. It might not be a fair fight, but in my way of thinking, it is getting fairer as researchers find new ways to kill the cancer cells. I understand where people are coming from who don\'t like those words, but for me, they work.
Here\'s one that really gets under the skin of almost everyone: being told to stay positive. I bet nearly everyone reading this article agrees that having someone who has never fought this beast tell you to stay positive and all will be well is not helpful. At all.
I am by nature a positive person. I prefer to live on the bright side of life. I run from negativity. But, even so, I do not want or need other people, especially people who have no idea what this battle (yikes, there\'s that word again!!!) is like, to tell me to just stay positive.
Okay, your turn!! Did reading these irritants make others jump into your mind? Let\'s talk about them!
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?