This comic was inspired by a supposedly true story my therapist shared while I was in treatment. He wasn't validating one way or the other; he just shared it to challenge me to rethink ways in which I approach adversity.
The story goes like this:
A woman with terminal cancer sought the help of a Qigong master after being told by her oncology team that there was nothing else they could do for her. The Qigong master told the woman that her problem with the cancer was her war-like mentality. Like many Americans with cancer, she was on the "F***k cancer" bandwagon and was only making things worse by "fighting" her illness, rather than actually understanding it. The master told her that the cancer was a living thing like her, trying just like any of us to survive and thrive. He went further to say that the cancer was a flower merely planted in the wrong place.
So the woman was instructed to go to a mountain-top and visualize planting this "flower" on the top of the mountain, where it "truly belonged". After one or more of this symbolic practice, the woman was found to be cancer free.
So this comic is a way to express my struggle with this story, and how I really can't reconcile my desire to live in peace with all things and still hate everything that cancer is and does.
Because one part of me does question the "eff cancer" approach, because it seems to elicit conflictual and negative emotions. If I'm going to "kick cancer's ass", but I still die from it, does that mean cancer won? If I make this a war, then the task is on me to win it. It requires me to become aggressive. I mean, that's a lot of pressure and stress on a person...and I do believe cancer feeds off of stress. Most of the time in my treatment, I utilized a lot of meditation, positive visualization and yoga, and dropped many things in my life that created unwanted thoughts and emotions. I really believed these practices helped me in treatment. So, honestly, I didn't always use warlike language when it came to cancer.
But sometimes I did use war-like language, and it helped too. Sometimes I needed to get angry. Cancer does kill people, and it was going to kill me. Cancer didn't care that I had a baby. Cancer kills kids too, a reality that will always prevent me from completely embracing it as a "misplaced flower".
I'm not sure I will ever be able to find the balance between war and peace when it comes to cancer. Both have their merits, and both have helped folks become cancer free. I really don't have an answer.
What are your thoughts?