“I’m going to fight this.” “I don’t want to lose.” “She battled long and hard.”
Are we talking about gladiator combat or a disease diagnosis? When you think about it, we seem to employ similar language when discussing both a soldier on the front lines and a patient diagnosed with a terminal illness. Is that helpful or hurtful?
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Recent news of actress Shannen Doherty’s breast cancer diagnosis serves as a classic example of the words that often surface when we talk about disease. According to the media, the "cancer stricken" actress is fighting a battle, aggressive against an implied enemy. And she is remaining strong.
After all, as Bruce Kramer explained, aren’t we all living with disease of some kind? Illness is part of life for all of us in some form or another, and rallying the metaphorical troops to fight a metaphorical battle may sometimes be energizing. However, we should take caution not to let our language exclude experiences of disease as simply experiences that are not made any more or less victorious by their outcomes.