Cancer Is a Narcissist

I am angry. And I am sad. But at the moment, it's mostly anger. Keyboard and reader beware.

That androgynous, faceless, scourge
with too many names and ways of wreaking havoc. 

That invisible stalker that sneaks in at the cellular level,
latching on and demanding attention. 

That predatory visitor that remains unseen until
 it's too often too late. 

It wins again. Today, cancer won again. 

It won this morning, taking a young woman barely 30 from her world, her family's world, our world, this world. Quickly. Aggressively. Ruthlessly.

I want to scream at cancer, cuss it out, kick it where it hurts, be heard. But cancer is a narcissist. It doesn't care that I'm angry. It knows nothing but itself and how to propagate until it wins.

Thankfully, cancer doesn't always win. And it wins less and less often. I've watched as people have beaten it -- cut it out, poisoned it, sent it packing. Or they've slowed it, stifling its progress so that although it's still there, it's not in charge. And people who joust with it every day -- forcing it to pay attention to the treatments, the energy, the prayers, and every bit of arsenal they -- and we -- can muster to fight it. 

Today, I reflexively returned to the refrain of "why?" Why does cancer strike good people? Why does it seems to target people who have already seen enough of challenge in their lives? Why is it so ruthless in its destruction? Because it is. Just because it is.

And I briefly considered, what if we could negotiate?

What if we could tell it where to go? What if we could convince it to deliver itself to those who have committed heinous acts? What if it could recognize a different kind of cancer? A cancer that seeks out those for whom free will means imposing harm on others? What if cancer made them its host, leaving the innocent to continue their innocence. Let nature deliver consequences.

But cancer has no judgement. We can't negotiate. Trade lives. Trade pain.

We can do whatever is within our power to remind cancer it won't always win. Whether that's praying, sending energy, focusing thoughts. Whether that's doing medical research to find answers -- or helping to fund it. Whether that's fighting to rid our environment of the things we know help cancer attack and thrive. Whether that's providing light and laughter, or a damn casserole. It's something.

And cancer won't have us as its advocate, ever. Little by little, cancer will win less often.

But today, I'm angry. Because today, it won.


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