I've been following Xeni Jardin on Twitter for a while and have seen her on TV from time to time. I think this article she wrote for CNN is the best thing I've ever read about what it feels like to be a cancer patient.I'm sorry this link has one of those videos that run automatically, but you can turn it off.
This is pretty much how I'm taking all this:
I am no warrior. I just showed up to my medical appointments, did what I was told, and lived as best I could. Now, I try to avoid saying things to other cancer patients that imply I expect a certain outcome for them, or that I expect them to feel or behave in a particular way. "Try to think positive!" isn't always reasonable or possible, and I don't want to make a fellow patient feel bad by commanding them to feel one thing or another.
Cancer is commonly used to stand for other things, as Susan Sontag complained in her essay, Illness as Metaphor; I think the facts of cancer are as Jardin states them:
During this odd era in which facts, truth, and reality itself seem to be up for grabs, I'd like to propose that with cancer, as Lisa suggested, we just call it what it is. War is war. Cancer is cancer. Cancer is a disease of cellular biology in which some cells stop obeying the good instructions they've been given. They hog the body's shared resources, and replicate over and over again, until the body's own organs cannot carry out the basic functions we need for life to continue.
I did this pic before I got cancer, and I imagined cancer as an invasion of the body. But no. It's my own body turning against me. It cares nothing about warfare, prayer or a good attitude. Some days I'm better at dealing with having cancer than others. That's just how it is.