The news of Senator John McCain’s cancer diagnosis has led to an avalanche of well wishes from across the globe. I’m saddened for him and his family, and I’m praying that he will have a good outcome as he deals with this health crisis.
One thing that has bothered me, though, are the well-meaning declarations on Twitter that “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against!” and “Senator McCain has fought far worse than this!” Yes, he is, without question, an American hero, but I don’t find platitudes like this particularly encouraging, or realistic. For me, it implies that others who were diagnosed with cancer and were unable to survive simply didn’t fight hard enough, or weren’t strong and brave enough.
We often refer to Cancer as if it is a person, an enemy that can be vanquished in battle for those who sufficient will to survive. Unfortunately, I’ve known way too many people in my life who have struggled with cancer, fought back as hard as they could, and still ended up dying. They had so much to live for, did everything their doctors asked of them, but in the end, the cancer won out.
This essay on CNN written by Xeni Jardin does a great job summing up what I’m feeling about this. Definitely worth a read.