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To hate people talking about other people's "battle" with cancer?

(74 Posts)
Ronaldinhio Fri 05-Sep-08 11:39:21

I think cancer is an indiscriminate and terrible disease. I also think that most people would do anything to be cured of the disease. If this horrid thing finally overruns all of your systems and you die you DO NOT LOSE YOUR BATTLE.
It was never a fair war, you did not fight bravely and lose.
It just seems so negative and as if there were ever a choice or poor tactics that affected the outcome..sad sad Or that if you had in someway made more of an effort you might have won.
Just make me sad angry

Helsbels4 Fri 05-Sep-08 11:46:21

I think I know where you're coming from on this one. My mum died from cancer three years ago and was determined to fight it but it was too advanced to even have chemo or any treatment and my dad still says to people that she gave up at the end. It makes me so angry when I hear him saying it even though I have told him she didn't stand a chance. It's such a vile disease angry

2shoes Fri 05-Sep-08 11:49:44

YANBU X 1000000000000000000
I hate it
as when some one lives,,,,they won and if they died they lost.
My mum had it for 18 years but died in the end. to have it minimised in that was and her to sound like a loser is awful

Dragonbutter Fri 05-Sep-08 11:50:01

There's a fab book by John Diamond (he was married to nigella lawson) called 'C - Because cowards get cancer too'.
He explores that issue really well.

I absolutely agree with you.

cyteen Fri 05-Sep-08 11:50:59

I know where you're coming from. My brother couldn't have fought any harder or been any more positive, but he still never had a chance. We all knew it from the day he was diagnosed.

pigleto Fri 05-Sep-08 11:51:59

I have cancer. If it looks as though it will be fatal I will be off to dignitas to kill the bugger before it gets me. Battle my bum.

mayorquimby Fri 05-Sep-08 11:52:33

i think that a lot of it comes from people who do survive and want to give meaning and sense to such a horrible experience.
so they talk about "learning" about themselves or finding out how much strength they had.when the truth is,as you say, it is an indiscriminate random disease which eats away at you.those who died didn't have any less will to live, they were just lucky or got treatment at the right time/place.

then when you look at famous people who survive cancer and the way the media treat them.their battle is always noble and somehow makes them a better person, which implies that those who didn't survive hadn't the character to get through it.
i mean they gave kiely minogue and OBE for surviving cancer pretty much as there are far more famous popstars with greater influence on british culture who have gone unrecognised.

i'm not trying to sound flippant, my mum had cancer. i just see where you're coming from. praise for people who survive cancer implies that those who die in someway choose to die and are unworthy of praise.

Anna8888 Fri 05-Sep-08 11:53:07

I don't object so much to the word "battle" as to the word "lose".

My MOL has cancer and it in many ways it is a battle, every single day.

policywonk Fri 05-Sep-08 11:54:59

I think it's just one of those cliches that people trot out because they don't know what else to say. I don't feel strongly about it but wouldn't use it myself.

RubyRioja Fri 05-Sep-08 11:56:26

Not q so annoying as those who say

'he/she is a real fighter. He/She will survive'

or

'he/she has such a positive attitude, he/she will beat it'

Yeah, cos that is the way it works!

batters Fri 05-Sep-08 11:56:56

pigleto, I am so sorry.

expatinscotland Fri 05-Sep-08 11:59:34

i see people who use platitudes like that along the same lines as those who toss out cliches like, 'children with special needs are only born to special parents' or 'they're a special blessing give to you by [insert deity, usually God] because He knew you could handle it.'

erm, yeah, that's why i take sertraline.

shit happens.

the idea that if you're positive you don't suffer hardships in life.

what a load of bullshit.

wannaBe Fri 05-Sep-08 12:04:13

it's the "positive attitude" that does it for me.

Of course there's a lot to be said for having a positive attitude, but if that was all we needed then there would be no necessity for the medical profession would there?

My best friend died of cancer when I was 15, she'd had it three times, retinal blastoma when she was a baby, and two different types of cancer when she was growing up, and yet she had no intentions of dying, ever. When her last cancer was diagnosed, she said "I just know I'm not going to die this time, it's not time for me to die yet." and she lived life to the full right until the end. She certainly didn't lose her "battle", it was her time to go. Just as it will be all of our time to go one day.

policywonk Fri 05-Sep-08 12:08:28

When my mother was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer, she adopted Gramsci's motto: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. If you're going to have a cancer motto, it's not a bad one.

suey2 Fri 05-Sep-08 12:15:29

YANBU. At all.
DB had leukaemia. 5 lots of chemo back to back. After the 5th lot, with side effects of bilateral pleurisy, severe muscle pain and thrush from his throat to his stomach there wasn't a lot of battling going on, i can tell you. He lived (4 years remission next month) but will still only be given a 50/50 chance of survival until 5 years.

The john diamond book was ace: He started with a 93% chance of survival and ended up terminal. His attitude was that it is ALWAYS 50/50- because you'll either die or you won't.

Pigleto- good luck

Blu Fri 05-Sep-08 12:18:52

I think I read somewhere that studies have proved that in fact your 'attitude' does NOT affect the clinical outcome at all - I hate that obligation and pressure that implies that it is your fault if the disease is not treatable.

I get aplopeacia. I always felt guilty about it when everyone told me it was caused by stress and 'my body telling me something'. It was a HUGE relief when a consultant told me it is an auto-immune condition and sod all to do with stress. Half my stress disappeared at once when it was no longer seen as my responsibility! I can only imagine the effect is a million times greater for people with cancer.

Pigleto - love to you, and may your sense of realisticness support you.

CrushWithEyeliner Fri 05-Sep-08 12:20:15

I couldn't agree more. Especially with regards to the survivors being "fighters" with a "mind over matter" attitude. Utter utter rubbish.

Ronaldinhio Fri 05-Sep-08 12:22:54

Thank you all it just makes me insanely angry angry angry angry to the point of wanting to reach into the television and rip Eammon Holmes' round football head off.
I know it is perhaps just an ease of language but it's really damaging to the conception of what everyone goes through and their everyday brave, horrible struggle.
I hope you fare well Pigleto

wannaBe Fri 05-Sep-08 12:26:14

what does eammon holmes have to do with it though? or is he just a convenient target grin

Ronaldinhio Fri 05-Sep-08 12:29:47

Always a convenient target grin but there was a bit on This Morning this morning about a mum who eventually lost her battle with cancer etcetc.
I know it's lazy journalism on his part but the more we say this or accept that people say this the more that it is perceived that it is a choice to live or die and I think that that does many wonderful people a terrible disservice.

pigleto Fri 05-Sep-08 12:33:32

Thanks for the support guys. Until it happened to me, I thought illness only happened to "ill" people. It was a bit of a shock to find out that it happens to anyone, without rhyme or reason, at any time.

RubyRioja Fri 05-Sep-08 12:40:53

Pigleto
I think there should be a MN list of platitudes - you could say, Oh but No 58, or and neve mind No 34.

Or a list of things never to say, i remember with family members diagnoses

Oh no, raditotherapy, that is awful and they burn you!
Oh, if it has spread to the lymph nodes that means curtains!

These people deserve a battering about the head.

PheasantPlucker Fri 05-Sep-08 17:31:25

Take care of yourself Pigleto.

Totally agree.

I also hate 'suffers from CP' (in relation to dd1) as it sounds so passive. We fight on her behalf for physio, OT, SALT etc etc, we are proactive. She does exercises. Who knows what the result is from the treatments, but I do so HATE the term 'suffers'

Along with Expat's 'Special Parents' thing. How many times have I been told that in rl.....? Please, no more, sod off!!

PheasantPlucker Fri 05-Sep-08 17:32:01

Ps - Obviously - 'sod off' to rl friends annoying me, not to Expat!

pointydog Fri 05-Sep-08 17:48:37

It's a saying. Som e people like the sayings, som epeople don't. That's all there is to it.

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