If you’ve ever read a fairy tale with a genie in it, then you’re familiar with these words: “Your wish is my command.” Then the benevolent genie grants the character three magical wishes and “poof!” Miracles happen! When we were all children, we believed in genies. We thought wishes came true just by closing our eyes tightly and asking for them. As adults facing cancer, we know this is just make believe, but we often hold on to wishes anyway. It’s human nature to need something to help us cope with cancer, so why not wishes? My three wishes regarding cancer are: 1) It’s just a simple word with a harmless definition, 2) no one has to suffer pain with it and 3) a cure is found.
I was born in the month of June. Astrologically, that makes me a Cancer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when you heard the word “cancer”, my astrological sign was the only thing that popped into your head and not a horrible disease? On August 10, 1994, when my doctor told me that I had “cancer”, the last thing on my mind was my horoscope! I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. I know what it’s like to hear the words, “It’s malignant”. I know what it’s like to think I’ve just heard my death knoll. I know what it’s like to wish this had never happened to me.
But though I wished this disease had never come knocking at my door, it did. So, being an optimist, I wished for strength to get me through the difficult decision to have a mastectomy. I then wished that no lymph nodes were affected, so I wouldn’t need chemo or radiation. Lastly, I wished that after my reconstruction I would feel like a whole woman again.
Did my wishes become a reality for me? Almost twenty years later, I’m happy to say that two of my three wishes did. I look up the word cancer every day now…but just to read my daily horoscope. Luckily, none of my lymph nodes were compromised, so I did not have to endure chemo or radiation. In my case, my wish for no suffering was realized. Reconstruction helped me feel like a woman again. And while no cure for this invasive disease has been discovered yet, I continue to donate each year to the American Cancer Society, so that my last wish can come true for my children and grandchildren and generations to come.
Does wishing make cancer go away? Of course not. Does it help those affected cope better? Sometimes. It did for me. It might for you.