Thursday, July 7, 2011


"You are really brave. A hero"...whhaaat? Why do people feel compelled to flatter a person dealing with cancer with such ridiculous statements of admiration. Why does living with a chronic disease change the perception people have of me?

A "hero" by what measure? "Bravery" measured by what standard? I am not the spokesperson for women with breast cancer, but I think I am on safe ground saying that "bravery" and "heroism" are not the qualities we feel oozing from our emotional or psychological pores.

I am a person with a chronic disease. I chose not to curl up into a fetal position and succumb to the disease. I truly have not encountered many people who have chosen the latter. Does that make me (or them)"brave"? No, it makes us human. The will to live is not being extraordinarily human, brave or heroic. The will to live is a natural instinct. The necessities of life are a responsibility.

How we live as an adult in the present 21st century is defined by our choices and responsibilities.  I  choose to get up every morning, and I must go to work everyday. I choose to have a family and willingly undertake the daily responsibility of caring for them. I choose to continue in my volunteer work. I must pay my mortgage; go grocery shopping; clean my house and do laundry. I even choose to try and through in a little leisure time here and there. I also get pissed off at my kids and husband...and at the check out clerk, and the lawn guy...etc. In short, I am living an ordinary life. This is not heroism. My days are no different than 100 million other women...and we all have minor inconveniences we deal with daily.

Cancer does not make me "special" or elevate me in any way. It makes me human. And, as far as I can gauge, I was human before the diagnosis.

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