“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”

— Lao-tzu

The road into and through breast cancer continuously twists and turns upon itself. As soon as one piece is solved – an understanding reached, a fear laid to rest – another emerges. The jumble of emotions come unbidden: fear, anger, hope, frustration, peace, confusion, empowerment, and then it all begins again, some times in the space of a week, sometimes in the space of an hour. Sometimes we know what to do with it, often we don’t.

Along the path are so many ironies, not the least of which is we made it; our bodies created this cancer. Yes, there are environmental, familial, hormonal and lifestyle factors at play. Of course the single greatest risk factor is being a woman. But ultimately somewhere deep inside us a cell went bad. Then another and another… Yet it remains that the very cells of our body are in opposition to one another. Cancer cells are crafty. I sometimes think of them as the cockroaches of cells, managing to survive the onslaught of our own immune system, poisonous chemicals, deadly radiation, and/or starvation via endocrine therapies. Moreover, both our cancer cells and our white blood cells are seeking life.

As fellow blogger Xeni puts so well in her twitter profile, “Breast cancer isn’t something I have, but something my body is currently doing.” She is right. Cancer should, perhaps, be a verb. Far too often cancer comes to define us, when in fact it is just one of hundreds of biological processes going on within us. It may take center stage for a bit, but for us to live fully it can’t take over. If it does, it wins regardless of whether it kills us…

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Facing Cancer (@cancer2gether)
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 08:34:52

    It’s a very interesting take your fellow blogger provided – that cancer is something the body is currently doing, a perspective I’ve never really considered. I like the verb idea, since that action can in itself have an end. Leaves a sense of hope.

    And you are bang-on right, it cannot take centre stage. Better to address the fears, emotions, frustrations and move forward one step at a time. Letting those feelings go (even if they keep coming!) is an important part of the healing.



    • Lori
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 15:57:49

      Thanks for your comment, Catherine! I’m really intrigued by cancer as a verb, too. As for sending those fears away, it is a primary strategy of mine, and one I’m trying to teach my very worried 13-year-old son!


  2. chemobrainfog
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 12:50:38

    Cancer is a verb. EXCELLENT angle….. Where is this coming from??????? You are on fire, my friend…. ON FIRE with these blog posts. Each one better than the one prior….

    Keep em coming….


    ps-Just returned from the apple store. Bought the case for the keyboard… figured I’d share … only took me almost two months 😉


  3. Jen (Sturtevant) Meus
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 04:24:49

    Beautifully written. Great perspective 😉


  4. Renn @ The Big C and Me
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 07:59:24

    I love the verb approach!! Really enjoy your blog.


  5. The Accidental Amazon
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 21:05:21

    For a long time, I referred to breast cancer as The Stalker, owing to its sneaky propensity for returning, no matter how much treatment and vigilance we throw at it. But as we’ve learned more about it in the past few years, we find that the Stalker is within, isn’t it? Living with it is so much about putting it in perspective, seeing it as just one thing among the myriad others in our bodies and lives. Love this take on it, Lori.


  6. Nancy's Point (@NancysPoint)
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 13:16:48

    I missed this post earlier, but glad to read it now. It is ironic how our bodies create this cancer deep down at the cellular level isn’t it? It’s also pretty darn mind-boggling. Thanks for your perspectives. They always intrigue me.


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