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If there is one difference I hope to make with Love for Now book it is to challenge the overwhelming use of war metaphor (‘Today saw the passing of X, after a short/long battle with cancer…’) to describe cancer. This is inadequate for three reasons.

Firstly, let me assure you, after a day on a chemotherapy drip you feel the battle is being done to you, not that you are choosing to fight in one yourself.

Secondly, the notion of a ‘battle’ places the responsibility of getting better upon the patient. This opens up the possibility that it is the ‘strong’ or ‘deserving’ patients who survive having cancer, and that those who die from it are somehow lacking in moral fibre. Please may I respectfully suggest that this is balls.

Thirdly, the idea of cancer as a battle unnecessarily romanticises cancer as a disease when there is nothing romantic about it. Consider the short sentence above, used almost always in the past tense and when someone has just died. Even though the battle has been lost we persist in reassuring ourselves that the deceased has ‘given it everything’. Like so much that is said about cancer by people who have not had it, it is uttered more to reassure the speaker than those having treatment for the disease.

If cancer is a battle, let it be one for the doctors and researchers, who can at least go home in the evening without throwing up their lunch.

 

Love for Now is a book-length diary of cancer, its treatment, side effects and consequences in the life of one family.