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Cancer journey? Cancer battle? What is it?

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I keep hearing about how some people are offended by the term 'cancer journey'. It doesn't offend me but if it offends others then I don't want to use it. But what do we call it then? Battle feels like it's fight every day. It's certainly a struggle, I never feel really good, ever, I don't even remember what it's like. Well, barely, I had a good month a couple of months ago and it was so nice but that's gone now and I'm back to fatigue, cramps, nausea, all that crap. Anyway, battle doesn't seem appropriate, either. But what is a good term? I tend to call it cancer crap as in "before the cancer crap" or "since this cancer crap". 

Any suggestions?

Jan

airborne72's picture
airborne72
Posts: 282
Joined: Sep 2012

Jan:

In my opinion, you can call it whatever you like and to heck with others' opinions/feelings.  You are living with it and you have earned the right to call it whatever you want - challenge, opportunity, journey, fight, battle, struggle, endeavor, relationship, curse, disease, ailment, misfortune or a long list of additional nouns.

Jim

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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Joined: Sep 2014

Thanks Jim, I appreciate it,  but I'd rather not offend anyone else if I'm talking about their cancer situation. And I really don't know what to call my own. I've called it my cancer journey but only recently found out that many find this offensive. I think it's very appropriate because between going through things and learning things and the changes it is pretty much a journey you embark on without knowing where the journey will end or the twists and turns along the way. 

I'd just like to know what other people prefer.

Jan

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
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Joined: Apr 2017

Jan, I echo Airborne's opinion, call it whatever you like.  Journey sounds just fine to me.  Personally, I just call it "cancer."  You are the one who is living it and you are entitled to call it whatever you want.  If there is anything we with cancer should have learned by now, it is a little tolerance and humility--I do not know who is criticizing you for using "journey," but maybe they have a little too much time on their hands.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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Actually,nobody did. I was reading through a link the other day to cards for people with cancer. It was a bunch of greeting cards that were things people with cancer really want other people to say or understand and one of them said something like "I'll never call it your cancer journey" like it was a bad thing. It got me thinking because I'm not really sure what I'm comfortable calling it for myself, either. When I'm cranky about it I'll say "before all this cancer $hit" but when I'm feeling more positive I'll say something like before my cancer journey or battle or whatever. Sometimes I even describe the past as BC as in Before Cancer. 

I was just curious and would prefer not to say soemthing that's offensive. The card made me think that many people like that. I think I remember Tru saying she didn't like it one time but I could be wrong. 

Jan

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
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I've always used "journey".  We can probably say path or schedule but really do we really want to get this politically correct.  This is really stupid for people to complain about wording.  "Journey"  is fine and if people don't like it - tell them to take a hike.

Hugs!  kim

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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Thanks! You gave me my first smile of the day! Yeah, I guess I won't worry about it. It's not like I talk about it much anyway. And I'm not like some people who must share with everyone so they can be all "Oh! You're so strong and amazing! Wow, blah, blah, blah!" I have a friend that does that and it annoys the hell out of me. She'll use it to get extra stuff from people and uses it to manipulate her husband. She got him to get a new and better horse trailer and camper and the truck to carry/haul both. When he balks she says 'what if my cancer comes back?' Personally, Id rather people not know. It's awkward. I hate seeing the immeditae look of pity. But sometimes when I'm not able to assist in something or do something I feel that I want to explain that I'm not being a princess. But usually I'll just say I haven't been well for while. 

Thanks for the smile Annabelle! Have a great day, gorgeous! Every time I see your pciture you look so pretty and happy it makes me smile!

Jan

SophDan2's picture
SophDan2
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Joined: Jul 2017

Hi Jan,

 

Don't be so hard on yourself; I've read some of your posts, your're a rock. Even rocks need support!

Since we're sharing here, what seems to bother me (which it shouldn't), is when you see someone that knows you have cancer, but they are seeing you for the first time. The first thing they say, with that surprised look on their face, "wow, you look great" as opposed to how they imagined you would look. My reply was "I read people, so I know you mean what you say (cause I too know that I look pretty good), but when you say that and don't mean it, I'll know!"

Just thought us cancer people would appreciate a chuckle.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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I do appreciate the chuckle Dan! Thanks for your kind words, it's really appreciated. I get that, too. Because if I'm out anywhere then it's probably because I'm having a good day. I think it's easier for women, too, because make up can cover looking washed out or pale and blush can make us look brighter. Even hair can make us look more healthy. If it's hanging down and looks droopy it makes us look droopy and if it's up in a cute style we look healthier. Or perkier or something.

You do look healthy in your picture! I'm so happy I don't look sick, either. Seeing people look at me with pity would be very depressing. I just want to be a person, not a person with cancer. I will not allow it to define me.

Jan

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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When someone tells me that I reply "Thanks, I'm planning on an open casket"

jajmom's picture
jajmom
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Joined: Mar 2010

Hope you don't mind my chiming in, I've popped over from the anal board....gosh that sounds funny. But seriously what gets me is when someone asks how I'm doing and they don't really want to know! I'll say "Well I'm having some pretty serious side effects from the radiation,  but I am getting my energy back since chemo's done." They say "Well, you look great"!  Um, thanks? It's better to just say I'm doing fine. I guess if I'm looking good on the outside, everything must be okay! 

Also, I don't refer to my cancer as anything, it's just my life; and life is a journey both good and bad. I'm iiving it, but not always lovin it!

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
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Joined: Jan 2013

in Fact, its great to see you. 

I know exactly what you are saying. Its even worse in this day and age, when someone asks you how you are doing, and as you're about to answer, they are already looking at their cell phone. 

If I get really PO'd at them, I say, in a half sarcastic, half truthful way, 'I'm sure you really don't want to know'. OR if its happened too many times in one day I just say 'I've got these awful weeping sores on my backside'. That usually shuts them up and send them running. 

Come and visit with us again.

Tru

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Your line reminded me of that old joke "I just flew in from Vegas and boy, are my arms tired!"

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
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Glad that there's a smile on your "beautiful" face.  I'm not the one that likes to hear about the "so strong" message either.  It bothered me terribly as I'd fell like crap.  It's their way of saying they care but "they are going on with their life."  Too bad about your friend - that would drive me crazy LOL.  Wishing you the best.

Hugs!  Kim

NewHere's picture
NewHere
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Joined: Feb 2015

For me.  Not a journey, not a path, not a battle.  It is just cancer. Or cancer k-rap or BS.  None of the other words mean much, though I do see why people could get bummed (upset) by the use of some of the terms, particularly path or journey.  To me, as a matter of connotation, the words path or journey are not one I I would use in association with disease.  

Sometimes I do refer my experience "as interesting"  in terms of finding some good or other things when going through this.  I also usually preface it when speaking about this "probably not the best phrase, but I guess I would refer to everything as interesting" before going into specifics.   This includes being able to offer support to friends and family of other people with cancer, particularly when dealing with my patients.   But path or journey seems to me words putting a positive perspective on something that is just k-rap.  If another cancer patient says it,  no biggie.  Whatever words work.   If someone without cancer says it, I can see a yuck factor.  Not that the words are technically wrong, but just connotation vs dennotation.  

The only word or phrase that I want to think about when discussing cancer is NED Cool

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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"Interesting". Like when my dad used to say my outfit was "different" if I was heading out to the bar when I was young and was wearing something questionable. I'd usually go change when he said that. "Is that what you're wearing out?" "Yup" "Oh, that's different". A word that doesn't usually mean anything negative now does.  

I often use BS for it as well. I wish there was w ord worse than the f word to describe it because that just seems so lame. This is pure, grotesque evil. Its an invention from hell. Nothing has created such heartbreak and pain in the history of the world, not even wars, not to the numbers that cancer has. And it's been around for thousands of years. Why can't they get on top of it?? There's been so much money thrown at it, so much research. They're making some headway but it's taking too long. Nobody has avoided being touched by it in some way whether it's a friend or loved one, or themselves. Ugh! SO sick of it.

Jan

 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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Okay, since we're on the subject of offensive things or things that may not be, what's your opinion of people shaving their heads for cancer to get funds for research or in solidarity to a loved one/friend who has it?

I hate seeing it happen. If someone wants to donate, donate to stop them from shaving their head. Here, I'll give you fifty bucks if you don't do it. I find it to be so pointless. The cancer patient (actually, that's another question, are we patients, victims, what are we?) probably feels horrible that they did that, and I just don't see the point in it. Am I being horrible not recognising the sacrifice? Or does anyone else feel the same?

On the other hand, my friend's daughter has grown her hair and cut it off to donate to Locks of Love every year since her younger sister had cancer at nine years old. Which she beat. Her hair grows super fast and she's in an industry where it doesn't matter what she does with it so she does that. I do think that's very cool. And we're going to her wedding this weekend! 

Jan

marbleotis's picture
marbleotis
Posts: 715
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi,

I consider it a "jattle".  It is both a journey that you go through and a battle that you fight.

I am 5 1/2 years NED from Stabe 3B signet cell - and I can truely say it was a combo of both.

I also noticed that people get very hung up on words.

Sometimes you need to be in journey mode and sometimes you need to flip to battle mode.

darcher's picture
darcher
Posts: 304
Joined: Jun 2017

It's not really a battle in that we're not taking up arms or making any command decisions against a foe.  Our part is usually just trying to stay positive. I don't think that rises to the level of combat. I served in the Navy and battle in that context had a very different set of emotions attributed to it.  We usually follow the steps given us by the doctors and hope for a good outcome.  That to me is more a journey. My 2 pennies.  

BTW, if anyone wants to not be bothered by a stranger, tell em you have cancer and then begin describing something about it. They'll walk away in an almost instant.  Did that at a store the other day when the goombahs would approach trying to pitch their stuff.  I pointed out that I just left radiation and wasn't feeling quite right. Their own imagination would do the rest.  LOL.  This can be used as a weapon, so to speak.    

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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I use it sometimes, too. What the hell, it's got to be good for something, right? I needed to run into a place quickly on the weekend and asked a security guard if I could just park there for a couple of minutes because I'd be quick and had cancer and couldn't walk far. Which is true anyway. No problem, he was very nice about it. I'd never really take advantage of it but if I need some help I don't mind asking. 

Jan

plsletitrain
Posts: 253
Joined: Jul 2017

Haha! Yeah, I also sometimes use the "I got cancer" card to run away from something (like someone soliciting funds for their minor non-health related expenses), or if I feel too lazy to run an errand, or if I don't feel like coming to a certain gathering.  etc. lol

Jan, I also have some indifference towards shaving.  I mean, yes, chemo makes us bald, but do we really have to show to the world that we did that to show we empathize with them? I think any help you can, especially moral and psychological help, or financial help if the patient is unable, is the most helpful thing to do to a cancer patient.  

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
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Joined: Sep 2014

I didn't go bald! Did you? I know a couple of people on here did but for colon cancer chemos it seems to be few and far between. I lost a bunch of hair after my PE and being in the hospital for four months but I'm told that was from all the meds I was on. I hadn't had chemo for over 6 months at that point.

Jan

NHMike
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2017

They recommended that I don't shave with a razor and that's the only way that I shave and I have a healthy amount of facial hair growing in the usualy areas. BTW, I did shave last weekend but not close to the skin. It was getting too long. So the Xeloda isn't causing hair loss for me but the other stuff post-surgery might. We'll see.

I do see women at the radiology center without hair but I don't know what kind of cancer they have nor what kind of chemo and radiation treatments they're getting.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm sorry but it is a journey.  It's a part of your life, it's path that your are taking in your existence.  Why do people get so offended by words.  It seems like everyone now gets offended when people use certain words.  You can use whatever you want and if people are so insensitive then they shouldn't be reading the post.  "My Journey" is posted on my "About Me" page.  If that is what some people want to call it "About Me" that is fine, but I'll continue to say "My Journey."  Sorry that you are struggling now.  Hope you feel better.

Kim

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thanks Kim, I still use journey. Because journey to me invokes the idea of wandering off and not really knowing what's ahead. And none of us do. So I like the idea. Battle seems to only be applicable during times of really struggling like recovering from surgery or dealing with bad news or dealing with chemo. The rst of the time we just live our lives and hope for the best and wait for the next tests or results or news or treatment.

Jan

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Jan, don't let others define it for you. I use journey because that's what it feels like for me.

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