When my good friend Greg was having some sort of challenge going on in his life, he’d walk in the room or give me a call and inform me he was “Fighting it”. Greg is from Alabama and stands about six foot six in his socks. With a deep baritone voice that can only come from the depth of a man that size, when he’d utter those words, it had meaning and you knew something was up. He’d state, “I’m in the middle of something I can’t quite figure out and I’m fighting it Randy”. I always thought this a very descriptive phrase as it clearly summed up a challenge one was faced with in two very succinct words. To this day I can always hear Greg’s strong voice summon up the beast.
I am a big fan of Charles M. Russell, the cowboy artist of the last century and Montana fame. Years after being enlightened to the phrase from Greg, I came across a story in Mr. Russell’s memoirs that stated when he couldn’t quite get a painting to come together, he’d be ‘Fighting it’. He was a stickler for details in his work and when he couldn’t get a charging buffalo or a cowboy’s lariat to look the way it does in life, he would state, “I’m fighting it.” Same meaning, different person but again, a catching phrase I have used many times in my life when something wasn’t going the way I expected or presented a test.
The other day I was watching the evening news when the anchor came on towards the end of his broadcast and stated that a famous movie director had died. He was seventy some years old and had lost his ‘fight’ with cancer. I have heard this announcement many times and when doing so prior to having been diagnosed with cancer, never really meant much or paid it much attention. I always thought that someone ‘lost’ the battle as many do with a terminal disease and passed on. With the shoe on the other foot and now having cancer, this analogy has brought about a different view on this terminology.
I don’t believe in fighting cancer in the way people describe and how it comes across. They like to say things like, “He’s in the fight of his life” or “He’s in the midst of a major battle to win the fight against cancer.” To ‘fight’ connotes a struggle, to wrestle, disagree, combat, brawl, go to war, come to blows, etc. None of these terms are positive in my mind and only serve to present negative thoughts in and around having a disease that strives to kill its host. Therefore, I prefer to ‘choose’ cancer over it choosing me and work with over fighting it. This might seem like semantics and perhaps so, but I believe a little reverse psychology is what’s needed to work on what those nasty little cells are attempting to do inside one’s body. I’m of the mindset to embrace and live with it opposed to fighting it and thus walk through life viewing it as a struggle. It does not require effort if you break the disease down to its lowest form. It’s in me but it’s a part of who I am and I can live with it, not be at odds against it.
This does not mean that having a good fight in one’s life is a bad thing. I love a good fight. Especially if you’re competing for business or shooting a good round of golf and tackling the course. That’s a good fight to engage in and welcomes the onslaught. But as far as a ‘fight’ for my life because a bug has entered my body doesn’t seem on par.
As I’ve stated, there are many blessings that have come with having cancer. Am I glad I got it and get to live with it? Not particularly, don’t get me wrong. But one in three people in this country are going to ‘get’ cancer in their lifetime. Those are the statistics in today’s health census. The sooner one begins to think in terms of living with opposed to fighting against, the quicker those numbers will change. At least that’s my thesis on the subject. Live life as though you have cancer and perhaps you’ll remain one of the lucky ones who don’t have to find out.