Getting a cancer diagnosis is literally a kick in the gut. That kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen to you. NOT YOU! Maybe 89-year-old Mrs. Smith who lives down the road and smokes three packs of cigarettes a day. But here you are eating a somewhat healthy diet, going to the gym more than occasionally, and taking vitamins whenever you remember to which is almost every day. It’s normal for your first thought to be, “Why ME?”
Cancer Doesn’t Care Who You Are
Nobody knows what causes cancer, or why particular individuals get it. Of course, there are risk factors, like Mrs. Smith’s cigarettes or even excessive sun exposure. Then there’s those hereditary factors. If every other female in your family has had breast cancer that’s a pretty good red flag that shouldn’t be ignored. But what about the rest of us who have no family history of cancer, have never picked up a cigarette, and generously slather on the 30 SPF whenever we’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes? The sad thing is there is no definitive answer and you are certainly not alone.
You Can Do Everything Right and Still Get Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, almost 1,700,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year. A high percentage of those are just like you wondering what happened. Basically somewhere, somehow, and for whatever reason, your immune system went on vacation. It can be compromised for many different reasons, but the bottom line is if it’s not working properly it cannot protect you from the initial stages of cancer development. You are effectively left defenseless. It’s not as uncommon as you think, and you shouldn’t blame yourself. Granted your risks are much higher if you abuse your body with chemicals, alcohol or a poor diet. Those statistics are greatly elevated and if you’re one of them than you probably shouldn’t be asking yourself, “Why me?” But the truth is you can do everything right and still get cancer.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up Wondering Why
Don’t spend a lot of time in the “why me” stage, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Just know that you’re in a LOT of company. I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 21 years ago, and eventually I came to the conclusion, “Why NOT me?” I’m not any different or more special that those other 1,700,000 people. That logical thinking didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy. In the beginning, I felt betrayed by my own body. I was angry, sad and fearful. It’s not easy to think clearly when you’re given that kind of news. Unfortunately, you have a lot of time to think about it.
Change Your Thinking – Why Not Me?
The “Why NOT me” thinking spread throughout my journey. When I read about cancer survivors, I yelled, “Why NOT me!” When I was told that some people responded well to treatment with minimal side effects, again “Why NOT me!” And when realizing a voice was needed for cancer activism… absolutely….“Why NOT me!”
“Sometimes you get to choose your battles and sometimes they choose you!”
a quote by Gabe Grunewald