You have cancer, in others words you’re dead!
That’s the thought behind this deadly disease, the meaning behind those dreaded words. Why? Why because our society lives everyday trying to catch up to the western world, but can hardly ignore the ingrained traditional perceptions of ‘saving face’, of what is considered taboo and what is not. When my mother revealed these words to me, my world came crashing down and in my hopeless attempt to be brave, play calm and stay positive, the first words that resonated through me were, oh my god she is going to die!
We were amongst some of the best Oncologists, admitted in the top cancer hospital, but my mind subconsciously prepared me for a permanent loss. I fought it everyday, as it played the devil on my shoulder, the dark shadow that quite evidently won on most occasions. Over here I very much had succumb to these false beliefs, I saved face on a daily bases and sealed the news within the confines of my four walls.
In a recent conversation, I was rightly told, “When someone from the west is told they have cancer, their first response is a quick strategic game plan on fighting the illness. But when someone in our country hears the same words, we respond with a quick strategic game plan on preparing for death”. I believe it all goes back to tradition. The mere fact that illness was perceived as a punishment and evidently still is at a subconscious level. Ironically our biggest false belief of all time!!
And this is where I see the difference. I meet children with cancer and as they lie on their beds with an intravenous tube through their veins or a tumor growth on their limbs, inhibiting them from walking or speaking, they still give me the biggest smiles while almost showing off these external scars on their body. I look at them and they look undefeated, I then look around and all I sense is fear, a fear that even runs through me for their lives. They haven’t succumbed to any such false belief. To them they are unwell and will get better. One day they will be able to run and play outside with their friends and that’s all they aim for. So simple but such a strong attitude that almost always pulls them through.
They use their trauma as an experience, but we instead use it as an identity.
A video that says it all.