A grudge match to the end

Ted G | Patient |

I’ve been in this cancer business for a while. Through tanker trucks of chemo, twice, and two transplants. Six years so far.

But I wouldn’t say I’ve… “battled” cancer. Calling it a battle gives both cancer and me too much credit. Cancer is an insidious disease that silently turns a body on itself and so does its parasitic harm. I’m just a guy who wants to live and so will follow directions and behave as directed. I’m not a warrior.

I don’t mean to diminish my resolve, or cancer’s. It’s a grudge match to the end. But it’s more like chess. There are no clashing swords or ear-splitting bursts of machine gun fire. Just quiet calculations by miraculous doctors, slow drips of toxic chemicals and waiting. We make our move and wait to see if cancer has a riposte.

In the end–hoping and assuming it’s a happy ending, there is no real declaration of victory. After a long time, if cancer has no response to the last move against it, the immediate idea fades some, but never goes away. There is no check-mate. We just stop playing. You can all it a battle if you want, and I might too, sometimes. It would be great if it were that simple. But it’s not.


  1. So very well written!
    As I draw near the end of chemo – hoping never to have to “play” this chess game again – I particularly appreciate the idea that there’s no declaration of victory … You just eventually stop playing.
    Here’s hoping many more of us can throw away the chess pieces soon.

    Betsy | | 6:45pm

  2. Ted, I couldn’t agree with you more and your post really sums up a better way to look at this disease and how we have to respond to it medically. I think that “battle” gives too much credit to the cancer.

    Mara B. | | 3:00pm

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