BCAM: October 14th

Language matters.

Let me say that again, language matters.

Here’s how Adiba describes how MBC patients look at the “battle” terminology:

As a person who loves control and wants to have control, losing control over so many things as a forever patient has been a rough transition for me personally. One thing no one has control over (except, of course, God) is how our bodies respond biologically to the treatments. No two people are exactly alike and no treatment results in the exact same result.

We don’t have any control over how our bodies respond or the cancer cells, so we have no way to “fight,” and the end of that metaphor is we “lose” when we die. Once we are diagnosed, we have lost. We have lost the ability to make a difference by anything under our control. Don’t rub it in by using this language, don’t minimize our lives by highlighting how we will lose our lives to cancer.

Before you use the same fight terminology that has become and stayed “mainstream,” ask how the person with cancer is doing. Don’t take it on yourself to be a cheerleader or give them answers or solve any problems, just sit with them. LISTEN. And then listen some more. Less is more. Much less, please.

And now you know more about “mainstream” terminology and how much it hurts those of us with MBC.

35 thoughts on “BCAM: October 14th

  1. I never liked the term, but I never thought of it that way either. Our society has made everything into a game, it seems. Since we all die at the end of our lives, this is inappropriate. It makes the goal of life so simple – to live a long healthy life doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t accomplish something along the way. Yet we Americans play the game like that is the only goal and if we mess up and die early, we lose. Thank you for another powerful message, Abigail.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it made me think! My grandfather wanted to live to be 80. He had cancer, but he hung on and died at 80 as if he was in a competition to be the longest lived brother in his family – or maybe oldest male. I’m not sure. Thanks for sharing these magnificent posts. I will eventually get them all reblogged. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I was diagnosed with stage 3c in 2016. It had metastasized by 2018, a year after I finished treatment. But I have a bit of a head start because I have been living with a missing child since 1988, when my nine year old daughter was the victim of a witnessed stranger abduction. She has never been found, and I have greatly adjusted my ideas about what life is all about since then.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree – the fighting words suck. But sometimes I feel like all I do is battle – with cancer, with other health concers, with insurance, and when I lived in California with doctors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Abigail,

    I’ve never been a fan of the war metaphor usage in Cancer Land. I think they’re just easy go-to words; people spew them out without thinking much about how they might be received.

    Love these words of yours: “Don’t take it on yourself to be a cheerleader or give them answers or solve any problems, just sit with them. LISTEN. And then listen some more.”

    Listening is so important. Not sure why it’s so hard to do. Thanks for the post. Not sure how you manage to put one out every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree. I think people frankly say things to make themselves feel better and since they are focused on themselves and how they feel, there’s no room for listening. As to the posts … I drafted and saved them in advance!! ❤️


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