As I was Christmas shopping today, I chuckled to myself when I thought about all of the people who have said (in different iterations) to me, “Cancer is a gift. Look at what you are doing now. You would never have done this if you hadn’t had cancer.” Yes, people have said this. When this happens, my cheeks instantly turn 50 shades of (not grey but) purple. I do my polite smile and take a deep breath before saying, “IN. NO. WAY. IS. CANCER. A. GIFT.”
Cancer does, however, keep on giving. At my appointment last week, my oncologist and I discussed the realistic practicality of a prophylactic oophrectomy (preventing cancer recurrence by surgically removing my ovaries). I’ll do a whole separate post on this topic because it’s (yet) another tributary on this long, pot-holed road that is FBC.
Back to the topic at-hand. FBC is exactly what it has always been: F-bomb breast cancer. It does not have any of the markings of a traditional gift. There is no ribbon. No card. No love. No fun. And it comes with lots and lots of strings attached.
Now, as you all know, I have found an immense number of Silver Linings during my experience with FBC. Maybe this is what people really mean when they use the word “Gift”?!?!? I don’t know and don’t care to delve into a discussion (argument?) with anyone who thinks that cancer is a gift. I just can’t go there and am not going to “should” myself on the topic.
What I know for sure is that Silver Linings have always provided balance and perspective for me. They have not ever taken away the pain, nausea, sadness or isolation that come with cancer. The Silver Linings that I experienced during my cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery helped me get through each and every day. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the Silver Linings but you’ll never, ever, not-in-a-million-years hear me refer to cancer as a gift.
Now back to my Silver Lining: buying Christmas gifts with lots of ribbons, cards, love and fun!