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Definition shmefinition 😜

I heard someone describe my cancer as an event that hit me out of the blue, this is not entirely true, I had symptoms of something gone awry for close to 3 years prior to my diagnosis. Does the fact that I was having problems for awhile and choosing to try and heal my issues on my own change how someone might view the situation I am in now having been in the medical system for 3 years? The word “victim” is technically correct in relation to my disease as I would agree that I have experienced some “unpleasant circumstances” but would I be viewed as someone who deserved said circumstances because I didn’t go directly to a doctor at the first sign that something wasn’t right? In this sort of case is it justified to “victim blame”? I know that people have thought that if I had gone to the doctor earlier my cancer could have been caught sooner and potentially cured or perhaps it might not have impacted my life in the dire way it has. Does this mean I and others that didn’t go to the doctor in a more timely fashion deserve our suffering? “Well, that’s what they get…” Like the medical community is infallible and besides…Shoulda, woulda, coulda 🙄 It‘s easy to have opinions about other peoples experiences and everyone is entitled to have opinions but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily right or wrong.

There are lots of stories regarding people who did everything “right” who’s ending did not match their actions, “They did everything they were supposed to do only to…” You fill in the blank but we all know these stories or have told these tales, the one fact that can be counted on is that life is not what anyone would think is fair. I remember hearing of the passing of the actor Chadwick Boseman, in fact I wrote about it somewhere in this blog at that time, I was stunned that someone younger than me, who made the kind of money he did and who’s cancer staging was one number less than mine succumbed to his disease. Was Chadwick Boseman a victim? According to the dictionary definition, yes, but I don’t view him thusly per my own definition, he made a choice to star as a groundbreaking super hero in the Marvel Universe instead of making the decision to not put that kind of stress on his cancer having body. Chadwick Boseman made a choice to burn out rather than potentially fade away to loosely quote my favorite Def Leppard song, not that his plan was to die but knowing that we are all going to succumb to our impending end someday I totally understand and support his decision to roll the dice.

I guess I don’t like the word victim very much. We all in a way are our own dictionaries assigning specific meanings and connotations to words. This can be apparent watching two people argue sometimes, in certain situations they can seemingly be passionately disagreeing yet really saying different words that mean the exact same thing yet they can’t recognize this due to specific prejudices. The same can be said for the opposite scenario of people seemingly agreeing…Just because we speak the same language doesn’t really mean we understand it in the same way. A negative connotation of the word “victim” to me is regarding those that embrace being one as their identity, using it as a way to shirk any personal responsibility for anything. The attitude of “bad things always happen to me” or some such belief in regards to supposed family or individual curses is an extreme example of some peoples way to build a narrative in which failure or extreme unhappiness and complacency is the only option but it’s okay because fate has deemed it so 🙄. There is always an exception to a rule and who am I to say that some bad luck isn’t due to some kind of supernatural curse 🤷🏻‍♀️ BUT in many cases these situations could change if the individuals who subscribe to this way of thinking decided to cancel that subscription and tried something different. Self sabotage is real and the attitude can be passed on, I have seen this in real life and it makes me sad.

Disease is a different situation all together and everyone’s experience is personal as is the way these said individuals handle it. I can only really speak with authority regarding my own experience and being the open book that I am, I will share it here as I have twice a week for the last 2 1/2 years. I am not perfect, I have regrets as well, along with guilt regarding potential missteps in my life that potentially effected how my health has played out thus far. I have no control over how people perceive me, we are all a hero or a villain in someones story. I have at this time cancer in my body, an imbalance of my own whackadoo cells who decided to have a party without consulting me. Is it my fault that this happened? I don’t believe anyone is at fault for their disease, to me it is a perfect storm of nature, nurture and predispositions with a side of who the fuck knows but clearly I am not a scientist.

I don’t think of myself as a victim and I don’t think of those that have succumbed to disease as victims. These are just different versions of the human experience, some of which can suck pretty hard at times. I have heard awful stories and wonderful ones, I have been a part of both…I find myself wondering what point I am trying to make in writing this post, my intention is to give a point of view that might make someone question theirs if it skews towards a victim blame direction in regard to specifically cancer though it could be applied to other scenarios as well. Again, a reminder to myself as well as anyone else, control can only really apply to ourselves in how we handle our own reactions to any given situation so ultimately my words are just that, do with them what you will but maybe consider them before assigning guilt or blame on anyone including yourselves.

Until next time ❤️

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Mar 22, 2022

In medical writing, we quit using the word "victim" (as in "cancer victim," "victim of ALS," etc.) a few years back. Saying someone is a "victim" suggests that they are helpless and yes, that someone must be at fault.

It's certainly possible to be a victim of some things, such as crime. But now, we in the biz (at least the ones who got the memo, perhaps from reading posts like yours) say someone "has" cancer. That's it. It is, but it is not all.

There's an old American Cancer Society (I think) TV ad that shows people doing various everyday things and just enjoying life. The tagline is, "I have cancer ... but cancer does not have me." Cancer…

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