Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer I have heard “Wow, you’re so inspiring” come from people’s mouths. In a way, I really don’t agree.
What’s so inspiring about being picked by chance to have cancer?
Inspiring is to overcome the odds. I haven’t overcome anything…yet. I find Lance Armstrong to be inspiring because he beat the odds and did something amazing – he won the tour de France when his body was supposed to be dead. When he was supposed to be weakened by chemo he managed to cycle hard enough to win an award and beat out all those healthy bodies vying for that award. THAT is amazing.
All I’ve done so far is what anybody else would do. I go to my doctors appointments, take my medicine and manage not to die. I honestly could be doing more. I could be working. There are thousands of people with cancer who raise kids, take care of someone else and work jobs. I am doing none of that. I don’t really see how just surviving is being an inspiration at this point.
I hear all the time “I could NEVER get through what you are”. Well, considering that most cancers are considered “sporadic”, i.e. they happen by chance - what else are you going to do? Kill yourself? No. You do what everyone else who develops cancer does….you get through it. There is an inner resilience we all have. Rarely is it called upon but when it is…it is there.
I’m not trying to minimize my struggle or the struggle of others with cancer. I would definitely agree – cancer is hard. But I also would not lift myself up to hero status just because I happened to come down with a disease. Being sick does not a hero make.
What will make me a hero is what I choose to do with my life post cancer. Will I go on to help others? To create positive change in this world? If I survive cancer it will just be another hard thing that I’ve had to overcome. List them altogether and yes, it is impressive. What’s more impressive is that I didn’t become a drug addict or an alcoholic honestly. That I haven’t managed to kill myself yet. That I still try to be a good person even when I have repeatedly been slapped in the face by life.
One day, I would like to be an inspiration. But I don’t think I’m quite there…yet.