Thursday, July 26, 2012


I found my first breast cancer lump in January of 2007.  That's the day I became a Warrior, with a capital "W".  Here are two definitions of Warrior.

a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.

I certainly engaged in warfare.  I was at war with my own body, and after gathering intel on the enemy, researching the best weapons, and recruiting  my army (of doctors and supporters),  I charged into battle.  I charged into the battle of my life - a battle to save my life.

At times, I was filled with fear.  Fear of death, certainly, but also fear of the battle itself.  How hard would it be to fight, as I became injured, sick, and fatigued.  How long could I sustain my courage, while I poisoned my body over and over, had surgery after surgery, and even willingly submitted myself to radiation?  How long could I remain aggressive, while I lay sick, recovering from all those poisons- while I lay in pain, recovering from all those surgeries- while I lay asleep, recovering from the fatigue, caused not only by the radiation, but also by the many medicines, which were my weapons?

But, again, I was truly a Warrior with a capital "W", and I fought with the goal of conquering the enemy, that cancer that was trying to kill  me: stealthy, sneaky.  And, I did conquer the enemy.

I won the battle.  But, as it turned out, I did not win the war.

Today, as a woman  with metastatic breast cancer, I am now an experienced warrior, but no longer a warrior with a capital "W".  I am no longer a soldier on a short term mission to conquer the enemy, but a fatigued fighter, trudging along in enemy territory, fighting not to be conquered myself.  I am on the defensive, now.

The capital "W" Warrior was on the offensive, seeking out the murderous enemy, aiming to kill it, to drive it away forever.  This new warrior, the one that is not capitalized, is on the defensive, aiming to protect myself, my life, though I am now behind enemy lines.  For the enemy has made advances.

I still have my army, those whom I trust to fight alongside me, until my war is over.  My weapons change, as the enemy, cancer, learns how to outsmart them, and even as my own weapons cause their own harm to me, as occasionally, I become a victim of "friendly fire".  But, I have many weapons, many ways to keep the enemy at bay, and each time the enemy, cancer moves in, I will find another, different weapon to fend it off for a little longer.

This battle is forever, not short term, like the first one.  And this battle, will eventually, surely end with my death.  One day, the enemy, cancer will win.  But, being a warrior, even a defensive warrior, I will not give up.  Through triumphs and failures, gains and losses, moments when I am the conqueror and moments when I am the conquered, I will continue to fight.  Daily, I will put on my armor, pick up my weapons, gather my army around me, call on my God, and I will fight.

And, even though I have lost my capital "W", I will remain a warrior.  I will continue to fight.  I will play when I have energy.  I will sleep when I am fatigued, and I will love always.  And, because I will do these things while I can - whether it is for two years or twelve - in the end, even when the enemy, cancer finally wins this final, long fought battle, perhaps, just perhaps, I will have still won the war.

1 comment:

  1. 'It is not the winning that matters, it is the taking part'. Quite appropriate with the Olympics officially starting tomorrow. Personally I think that if we have fully taken part then we are the ones who will win the war, and not the cancer. After all it can't touch the heart, soul, character or morals of the one it has invaded, only the body. Good piece Laura, makes you think...