A woman recently made a comment on my blog, saying that my diet probably contributed to my cancer. She said, I can't imagine trying to get well from cancer by stuffing myself with crap-food... full of man-made preservative-laden junk that probably helped you to get cancer in the first place.I corrected her, as a) there is no proof that anything in your diet will cause breast cancer, b) my diet has always been extremely healthy with few processed foods, c) my post was not about recovering from cancer (as I know I won't) but recovering from colitis, d) it had a large dose of humor and exaggeration and wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and:
e) I will not tolerate any form of "blame the victim" on my blog.
That "policy" is not for me, but for all the freshly diagnosed women who find this blog and are looking for truthful answers and hope. I don't want them to blame themselves more than newbies to cancer already do - and trust me, they do. It's part of the process that newly diagnosed women go through. "Why did I get this? What did I do wrong? Was it that wild weekend I had in 1978?"
When I was told I had breast cancer, I was shocked, and looked for reasons as most do. I said to my oncologist, "but, I have no risk factors." He looked at me and said, "You do. You were born a woman."
That was all I needed to hear to stop the blame game. It wasn't my fault.
It's not yours either.
On my blog, even if a person did contribute to their cancer, let's say they have lung cancer and smoked, this is a blame-free zone. Nobody deserves cancer, no matter what they did, and nobody deserves that sort of guilt. What's done is done and any discussion should not be about blame, but about moving forward.
I'd have left well-enough alone, but the woman who made the comment has a blog, and she wrote about me there (posted in it's entirety below). Her contention was that I have no common sense for not taking her advice. She ignored the fact that I was under the guidance of a professional nutritionist, and that if I ate the way she wanted, it would not be digestible for me and could send me back to the hospital.
In a bit of hypocrisy too delicious for me to pass up, she also did not mention her professed love of whiskey, her love of tattoos (both of which cause health risks of their own) and then after a rant calling me names, sums up her blog by stating that she believes that no creature "with nerve-endings" deserve abuse.
She must know about my neuropathy.
Oh, and by the way, all this attacking is okay because she knows people with cancer. Presumably ones who did not follow her advice, otherwise (ta-da!) they would not have cancer.
I started to wonder why she thought the way she thought, and why she thought it was okay to trash me the way she did. Instead of continuing a back and forth conversation in the comments section, she ranted about me on her blog - where you can't comment.
What drove her?
After giving it some thought, I think I understand why she did what she did. She is playing "Blame the Victim." While she did it in a much harsher and classless way than most, she is not alone in wanting to create distance from a cancer patient - or really, any sort of victim.
Blaming the victim is a popular game in this country. You've done it, and I have done it. I've first noticed this years ago, long before I got cancer. Somebody would get in a car accident, and it would come up in conversation. People would say, "Oh, they were probably drunk." When it turns out alcohol wasn't involved, conversation would turn to statements like, "Well, I'd never be out that late at night." "I'd don't go on that highway." "I'd never drive that kind of car." A home invasion robbery turns into, "Why did they open the door?" "Why did they have cash in their house?" "That would never happen in my neighborhood."
I still find myself instinctively doing it when I read a story in the newspaper, especially one that scares me, such as one involving an accident with a child. But, now I remind myself that I don't know the complete story and horrible things happen to good people through no fault of their own.
Perhaps, with so much cancer in her family, this woman is terrified, and is trying to control the uncontrollable the only way she thinks she knows how - through diet.
This "blame the victim" is a protective mechanism we instinctively do to allow us to believe we are immune from random tragedy; that it can't happen to us.
But, it can. The woman who wrote that blog post can get cancer, just as I did. The truth is, nobody knows why people get cancer. Sure, there is a genetic component for a very few. But for most of us, it's just bad luck. It's probably a complex combination of genetics, external environment, internal environment, diet, proteins in cells, hormones,and a million other body and DNA-specific things that in any given combination, can cause an error in cell division and thus, cancer.
There is just no answer. People don't like not having answers, but if it was as easy as eating green, leafy, organic vegetables - there would be no cancer.
While an extreme example, people like the woman who blamed me for my cancer because of my supposed diet are no different than the fools of the Westboro Baptist Church who picket the funerals of our service men and women because of the policies of the military. They blame the victim for something not their fault, for merely joining the military, and feel justified in their cruelness.
They are the ones to feel sorry for, not those of us with cancer.
I will put her post here just for context. This is it in its entirety so don't go looking for it and give her any hits, and she doesn't allow comments so there is no reason to try to spark a discussion with her.
"Common sense is not so common." ~Voltaire
I swear to gawd on high that there's no truer words ever spoken on this earth than the ones above.
I was going through some blogs that I read on a pretty steady basis & read one from a woman who has Stage IV cancer. Yeah, she's been through hell & back, as most cancer patients have been. My dad, my brother, my 41yo cousin, many friends, many family, many acquaintainces have had it. Some died from it & some haven't. This particular blogger is fighting for her life at the moment & is most recently trying to recover from a difficult surgery & C-diff. She weighs 90 lbs & is trying to gain weight... by eating processed cheese food-like substances, candy, canned preservative-ladened salt-ladened soups, and other really nutritious foods like that (read with sarcasm added!). I suggested to her, in the comment section of her blog entry, that she might do well to try fresh organic leafy green vegetable juices & fresh organic fruit juices & stay away from the chemically processed crap and sugar. After all that's probably what helped cause her cancer to begin with, in my viewpoint.
She responded like a raging bull, accusing me of saying that she caused her own cancer.
I give up on stupidity & stupid people. If this chick thinks she can recover well from her recent surgery, the C-diff, & cancer in general by eating bon-bons, there's nothing I can do or say to change her mind. If someone in this condition thinks that Fannie May & Progresso will make life all better, I wish her well.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but "well" is the last thing she's going to be, eating shit like she's eating. But why should I care? I dunno... I'm a sucker for stupid people, I guess.
Feminist lover of nature, land preservation, hard music, good whiskey & tattoos. Warrior woman for many causes, including the right of all living things with nerve endings to be free of abuse & torture, both human & animal alike. On topics I'm passionate about it's best not to cross me. I'm knowledgable about those subjects thus you will never win. Plus I can get very ugly!