Lance Armstrong called his cancer The Bastard. I identify with that impulse. As I said to one of the many oncology nurses I've come to know, I'm reluctant to say things like "I've got cancer, " or "I have cancer," because it seems to imply that cancer is part of my identity somehow. While that might be true in a very simplistic sense, it's not true existentially. My ego, my self sense, has no place in it whatsoever for cancer. Cancer is not blood of my blood, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. It truly is The Bastard.
It might be here with me right now, but I'm fighting it. I'm doing what I can to rid my body of it completely. I'm enlisting all the medical support I can to do one thing - destroy this thing entirely.
It's like that new commercial on TV these days about Cancer Centers of America. Their slogan is Winning the fight against cancer every day. The commercial has a man talking in very specific terms. "I went in one hour from 'you have no chance' to 'we have a team here that will provide you with with lots of hope'." From that point on in the commercial, the language is almost entirely martial - the fight, the battle.
These American cancer centers are very explicit about employing something called integrative care. Part of that care is a deep respect for spirituality. So the question becomes, "How do spirituality and military language work together?" Well, the short answer is "They just do." The longer answer is that spirituality is about the real person, the self concept, that part of identity in which cancer has no place, whether you call that part the soul, spirit, God, transcendence - whatever. Cancer has no place, either in self-descriptive language or self-concept. It's illegitimate.
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