Since diagnosis I have been told that I am brave what feels like hundreds of times. I accept the compliment, but on a day when we celebrate all of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, the adjective falls flat in relationship to my cancer.
Let’s look at the definition;
Brave brāv/ adjective 1. ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
Ok right off the bat I have a problem with ‘ready to face’. I was not and am not, ready to face cancer. Nope. Not at all. Is anybody? Is there anyone out there who is training for the day that they get diagnosed? Were there calisthenics I was supposed to be doing?
I also missed the ‘ready to…endure’ cancer seminar. Was that a high school level course? I’m sure I didn’t see it as a requirement for my double major in Modern Dance and Italian at the University of Colorado, Boulder (I know what you’re all wondering, those two disciplines have come in super handy in real life…).
The truth is, I in no way shape or form feel ready to endure cancer. So far it sucks pretty bad. Case in point, I suddenly have a red rash all over my body today. I had no interest in paging the on-call doc and disturbing him on a holiday, but enduring, denotes follow-through so it had to be done. (For anyone interested, the doc thinks the red rash is a delayed reaction to antibiotics, but I just see it as my body being patriotic).
Maybe I have shown some courage, but have I had a choice? I suppose it could be considered courageous to go through a bilateral mastectomy, but the other option was doing nothing and eventually succumbing to disease. Not really a choice.
I have also been told that I am courageous for writing so candidly in this blog. My response to that is merely that I lack boundaries, have a diarrhea of the mouth problem and show some borderline narcissistic qualities. I enjoy being heard which is neither brave nor courageous. Just sort of selfish.
Bravery is earned by action. Bravery is a result of choice. Our servicemen and women have made the decision to valiantly sacrifice themselves for the rest of us lazy sacs. They are brave. I am just a girl who got cancer and is following standard protocol to put it into remission.
Cancer chose me. That makes cancer the brave one.