Tuesday 19 October 2021

We suffer as grass in fighting cancer

In the scheme of things, cancer

An African proverb says, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” The meaning from The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs suggests, ‘The weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful.’ [TODOP]

This was the thought that came up in discussion with my boyfriend on the shocking and sudden death of his uncle from cancer. I reflected once again on how battling cancer rarely involves the person as there is hardly any natural means of defeating it.

Rather, we are the battleground on which the cancer is tackled by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, therapeutics, and/or surgery. For we are the hosts for the onslaught that is raised against cancer, with the caveat that we might or not have the physiological capacity to tolerate the treatment.

Tolerance in intolerance

When I had 7 sessions of chemotherapy, each session progressively attacked cancer and left me weaker with a totally compromised immune system that was already immunodeficient because of HIV and full-blown AIDS that my consultant was beginning to worry about doing something for the cytotoxicity of the treatment.

Meanwhile, one the day of my 7th session, early that morning I had attended the funeral service of a friend who passed on after 2 sessions of chemotherapy. It had exhausted him totally that friends who attended his PhD viva voce just 13 days before he passed on said, they can hear the strength drain out of him in his voice, he was barely there.

Our mortal frame

I do not subscribe to the idea of battling cancer as something you can overcome by the force of the will or any kind of determination, you can only aim to trust in the medical expertise brought to bear and hope that you can tolerate whatever is thrown at your body and that there is just sufficient in your system to carry you through to the other end where you have just been fortunate to have survived.

For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
[Bible Gateway Psalm 103:14-16 (NKJV)]

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