Life, Interrupted: A Battle With Myself – NYTimes.com

Suleika Jaouad on the fighter metaphor, and how she resisted using it to describe herself, until she needed to reach for it to literally get out of bed for another round of chemo.

As many of you know, I also don’t like the fighter or warrior metaphor (see What we call ourselves) but also reached for it at different times of my journey when needed, and arguably that helped me play a more active role in my treatment through exercise, diet, follow-up etc. Whatever works. Quote:

Then I surprised myself. I knew that realistically, I couldn’t abandon the chemotherapy because it was the only possible way to a cure. So I gave myself a pep talk using the very same battle metaphors that had annoyed me in the past. I imagined myself as a warrior in battle — both with my cancer and with myself. The image empowered me and motivated me to get out of bed and go to the hospital to receive the last injection of this round of chemo. During the cab ride, I told myself, over and over: “Don’t quit. Keep fighting.”

It worked, and it made me feel better. But this is the Catch-22 for a cancer patient: We must poison ourselves in the short term to hope for a cure in the long term, knowing full well we will get sicker before we get better. And the worst of it is knowing that certain types of chemotherapy can cause secondary cancers. But it’s a trade-off nearly every cancer patient accepts.

Sometimes getting through chemotherapy is all about ignoring the voice in your head that screams “stop.”

Life, Interrupted: A Battle With Myself – NYTimes.com.

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One thought on “Life, Interrupted: A Battle With Myself – NYTimes.com

  1. I know it may not be what you want to hear but I think it is so brave to carry on. It must be easier to give up. I look at my child and I wonder what on earth drives her to open her eyes in the morning? What makes her see one more doctor, have one more operation. I hope you are doing well with your treatment.

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