Today's comic is inspired by a cancer survivor and Stupid Cancer blogger Lindsay Brookshier, who is my first volunteer to allow me to turn her experience(s) into a cartoon! In a culture where those diagnosed with cancer are encouraged to hit the pews, Lindsay offers a different perspective. If you are a cancer patient/survivor/caregiver and have an experience that you think could do well in a Cancer Owl cartoon, send me some inspiration at email@example.com!
But I'll let Lindsay take it away from here!
I have always been an atheist. Everyone in my life knows that about me. I have never had the slightest interest in changing my belief system. When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 27 as a single mom of a little boy; my atheism became even more grounded in certainty for myself. Despite all of this, from the initial diagnosis and during treatment, I was often pummeled with religious comments that varied from things such as, “It’s time you brought God into your life.” to the one featured in this comic. Some of these comments were down right insulting. What did I do to upset your God to bring this horror down on me and my family? The pressure of religion was so great that even during my hospital stays I had to tell the staff NO multiple times when declining visits from the chaplain. And despite my refusals, she came in anyways and tried to pressure me into praying. Every time this happened I became more and more frustrated. Can’t anyone take "no" for an answer?
I understand that the intention behind this from most people is good. But all these things being said to me were the opposite of helpful. I felt my individuality reduced even more so by my cancer. Just because I was now a cancer patient did not mean my entire personality and belief system changed. I was still the same person and it was hurtful to see so many people around me forget that. At times I feel that these things were said not to make me feel better but to make themselves feel more comfortable with a tragic situation and instead of focusing on what would be helpful for ME. I welcome and appreciate prayers because they show that someone cares enough to take that time to think of me. But please don’t expect me to convert and respect who I am as a person. That was the core of the issue. I was not my cancer; I was still me.
Lindsay is a Single mother, cancer survivor of non-hodgkins lymphoma, educator, and medieval guru. Hobbies include writing, hiking, and dressing my cat up in costume.