So I thought I would pose a question that I know every single cancer patient in history has ever asked themselves: why me? Now, I’m probably exaggerating by saying that EVERYONE has asked themselves this question. Maybe there’s someone who used to keep a stick of uranium in their back pocket and would smoke 3 packs a day and probably isn’t that confused as to why they have it. But for most of us, it really does seem like luck (or lack thereof) of the draw.
I figured I would share with you how I rationalize having cancer, and maybe it’ll help or maybe you’ll think I’m dumb and you can tell me your rationalization in the comment section. To me, I like to think that Mother Nature has a quota on how many people every year must be infected (wrong word?) with cancer. Like every year, there will be x number of people with breast cancer, y number of people with sarcoma, and so on. Using that mentality, I like to think that “well, if someone had to get cancer, then I’m glad it was me and not one of my friends or family.” That might sound like I’m being a martyr, but it’s actually somewhat selfish. I think it is a lot easier to be the one dying of cancer with the power to control it, than to be the one on the sidelines just helplessly watching someone you care about slowly die. It’s kinda like diving in front of a car to push your friend out of the way. Like I would rather get run over than have my friend get run over if I can help it, even if it means I’ll get hurt in the process.
I think I’ve always been this way. It’s a big part of why I wanted to be in the Marines. Sometimes when I would say I wanted to join people would say “but that’s so dangerous.” Well yeah, it is dangerous, but so is living in a country where no one is willing to stand up and defend you. And that’s how I rationalize cancer as well. This is me, being the one to step up and take on a stage IV diagnosis so someone else doesn’t have to and can live and be healthy. I know that scientifically speaking, that’s not at all how it works, but I like to think that it is. That way at least there’s a reason for why it’s happening and it’s a decision that I made. I’m choosing to accept cancer, I’m not being assigned it. If I wasn’t able to rationalize it, and I just had to accept the fact that I just happened to be born with certain genes that just happened to give me cancer and I’m gonna die young just because that’s the way it is, I don’t know how I would keep from going crazy. Like I have to accept that I might die in my twenties for no reason? That’s bullshit, and I’m not buying it. If there isn’t a good reason for why things happened the way they did then I’m gonna make a good reason.
I read a story once about a guy who got struck by lightning 8 separate times. Someone told him, “You must be the unluckiest person in the world to have that happen 8 times!” He responded by saying “I’m actually the luckiest person in the world, because I’ve survived being struck by lightning 8 different times.” I think it takes a special kind of person put into a special circumstance to have that kind of attitude. To look at bad things that are happening and be able to rationalize them in a positive way. Like am I super unlucky to have been diagnosed with cancer at age 20? Sure. Am I super lucky to be still living with that cancer at age 24? Absolutely. So which would you rather choose? Unlucky or lucky? It turns out a lot of bad things can be good, depending on how you frame it.