As I sat in the corridor waiting to receive the 16th zapping from the radiotherapy machine a familiar face sits beside me. Your daughter is not with you today? I shake my head saying no not today she is at school. The women smiles and continues to talk about how children today can be so demanding, but never think how those demands take their toll. The conversation continues revolving around family and friends and how some drop to the wayside while others become over protective on the cancer journey.
Then I say well I’ve had my cancer for three years now.
The sixty something black Caribbean women turned to me and said, but you don’t have ownership surely? I look at her puzzled. The correct words are, ‘This cancer’ or ‘the cancer’. To say my cancer or your cancer implies you have some sort of control or responsibility for it being there. And personally I think that is utter rubbish no-one has ownership of cancer.
I look at this woman and for once in three years someone actually made sense. She continued it is not your fault that you use the word my so readily because from young you are conditioned to use it, but there are times when certain words have no room within a sentence.
This woman is right we are conditioned to feel responsible, but truthfully that is wrong. She turns to me surely if we are responsible then why all this difficulty in finding a cure? The women never finished the conversation because it was my turn to be zapped, but she is bloody right.
I think the word ownership is something we all should examine with thought. After all we do not have a copyright on cancer. If someone did then we would know this individual. I did not wake up and say well today I’ll have cancer, but this is what this lovely woman is trying to say. There is no room at this Inn because no-one truly has the responsibility for this disease.
The minute we are diagnosed we are dragged along with the pink confetti adding confusion to our heightened emotional state from being diagnosed. From there our tears are swamped and dulled by the lets be strong beating out loud. And the words ‘MY’ and ‘YOUR’ are used as if we have control over cancer. This in turn develops guilt and the feeling of responsibility of even developing this disease.
But who truly has ownership of cancer people?