Why I won’t be fighting my cancer

Sometimes people talk about ‘fighting’ cancer or ‘losing the battle’ with cancer.

Quite early on I realised this wasn’t resonating with me. Aside from the fact that I am a pacifist and committed to non violence, I haven’t ever been in a fight. I am not trained, or experienced or inclined to fight. I can’t draw on my skills and strengths for the ‘battle ahead’.

When we try, push or fight we introduce stress automatically, it comes along with the judgments we have just taken on board, i.e. are we doing it ‘right’ or enough? And if fighting is what I’m supposed to do, does that mean dying is evidence of my failure? To be made responsible for my survival of this is not fair or useful or even informed. The truth is that we can do our best, thousands of brave souls have, but we can’t control the outcome.

The concept of being who we are not and trying to be where we are not, is certain to cause stress. Fighting anything is STRESSFUL because it introduces the concepts of winning or losing.

Which is why I won’t be ‘fighting cancer’.

I am however determined, and focussed on living. I have a life long experience of feeling, of exploring, of living and loving. I’m skilled at compassion and kindness, at reflection. And I’m courageous, I face truth and I face feelings and I sit with these things and converse with them and make friends with them. I don’t avoid them or fear them, I don’t fight them, I learn from them. Many feelings and experiences arrive, stay a while and go. I listen and learn. That’s my skills set. That’s my daily discipline.

I am living my life with love and with grace. I am courageously living each day with every beautiful experience life gives me, including cancer. I have always lived life to the full, seizing new experiences grasping new feelings about what is. This is something I am good at and can live now. I have always loved everything and everybody- welcoming people and adventures with an open heart. I would have lost only if I became other than my nature – love.

So I will love being alive and happy, and I will love sobbing with grief, I will love allowing my fear to flow through me, I will love laughing till tears run down my face. I will love getting out into the fresh air and I will love the duvet on days when that is all there is. This will take my focus and courage but it’s also something I am confident that I can achieve with determination.

I will love the beautiful people in my life and continue to love the lessons that people have taught me when they were not as I thought they should be, when they appeared cruel or unfair. This is the work I can do and the courage I can exercise.

I will do my best on my worst days. Because my aim is simply to be where I am with grace. This is my win-win situation. Whatever the outcome of my illness, my goal is achievable!

So if I have 5 years or if I have 35 years there is no ‘losing of brave battles’ for me. Every day I win and on my last day I will win. I will live today and I will live my final day fully in the experience of what is. That is courage, that is love, that is grace.

IMG_2040 Poem by Mary Oliver

I am free to be.


2 comments on “Why I won’t be fighting my cancer

  1. Will P on said:

    This is by far and away the best piece of writing about cancer ever, both the quality of the writing itself but, more, the quality and depth of Miriam’s soul, the expression of love and connection she describes here. I’ve never been happy with the ‘fighting cancer’ approach, as Miriam says, the stress and anxiety this involves and the fear of failure etc. … instead the focus of living here and now, mindfully being in the moment and appreciating life … what Grace! Thank you Miriam for sharing something so personal and at the same time so relevant and meaningful for all of us.

  2. Andrea Gilman on said:

    This is brilliant. I love it. I’ve just read it to my daughter whose balls are not landing in a good place at the moment . Good luck with your balls Miriam

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