Stacey Kramer in this TED talk refers very powerfully to the gift of cancer. It’s OK for her, you may say, she’s still alive. But interestingly I’ve heard others who are living and dying with cancer say the same thing. Sophie Sabbage in The Cancer Whisperer explains: ‘Living with cancer means seeing your own mortality in the mirror and choosing appropriately as if every second counts….It’s an opportunity to change, to become more of yourself, not less, and to transform your perceptions, even if you can’t change the course of your disease.’ So how is it that some people come to see their cancer as a gift and some as a curse? Are these people any different to the rest of us? The answer is simple. It’s a choice every single moment of every single day to experience your diagnosis and your life differently because you have a choice. It may not feel like it, it may not always be easy, but it’s always possible. When I’ve sat with individuals living with and dying from cancer, I hear extraordinary things from some people about how glad they are that cancer has come into their lives. It’s transformed them into who they wanted to be overnight. But extraordinary people are ordinary people doing extra things. If they can do it so can you and if you need help to discover just how capable you are and how possible it is to discover this gift, get in touch.
The Cancer world is full of metaphors. Beating and battling against cancer is well documented and a lot of high profile charities use. This article from The Guardian last year by Kate Granger challenges this metaphor. The language we use to describe our health can be very powerful and its a very personal thing. For some people battle language might help them get through every day, for others something more gentle may be appropriate. There is no one size fits all approach. Given that less than 1 in 3 of us will be diagnosed with cancer and that because of the significant advances in treatment, cancer is now considered a long term chronic condition. So you’d probably need to think if having a battle with something your own body has produced is helpful. If it is use this metaphor or maybe the metaphor you use could change over time. For some people cancer can be like an awakening that can unlock a wisdom, an authenticity that had been hidden before. For some it can unlock a purpose,and believe that cancer can teach us something. Sophie Sabbage in her book The Cancer Whisperer states ‘perhaps its time to take it off the battlefield and into the classroom….it is time to ask not only how we can heal the cancer in our bodies, but also what cancer is telling us about how to heal our lives…I am gravely ill, yet weirdly well’ There are no rights and wrongs, just use whatever language works for you. If you want to talk about how I can help you through Cancer Coaching, get in touch.