Sunday, May 17, 2009

Can We Choose A Better Word Please?...

Peering through the haze of my fatigued eyes this evening, I mindlessly was staring at a DateLine Program on featured many "social" issues (a 7 year old bilateral amputee for starters) in tear-jerking, dramatic flare (a program format of BrainCheese stylish envy, I must admit!), but when it came to the segment on Farrah Fawcett and her "WAR ON CANCER", I had to turn the channel in disgust.

Now, don't misinterpret my nose-turning response...I LOVE Farrah Fawcett and have since I was a Charlie's Angels wannbe kid! And I DO admire her perseverance in the face of diversity and I salute her deep conviction to change the world/educate the world through a documentary about her cancer experience ("Farrah's Story"). I wish her peace and no malice whatsoever.

But I have to admit, when I kept hearing about her WAR ON CANCER, I just had to change the channel, lest I throw a stinky shoe and bust my own TV screen in a fit of contempt. This is what happens when I'm sleep-deprived and a bit depraved...I become contemptuous and prone to senseless acts...or at least I like to embellish and believe I am CAPABLE of such. Ahem...

Anyway, my channel-changing-break-my-fingers-hitting-the remote-button action was somewhat visceral. It had to do with the constant use of the word WAR...well, that and the endless references to "battling" and "fighting" her illness. After nearly causing whiplash in my neck from my involuntary back and forth spasms of shaking my head "no", I just sucked it up and changed the channel...I don't need another pain in my neck to complain about after all...there are far to many figurative and literal ones there already. (You KNOW who are!)

I'm curious when and how "we" (and no, mother...I do NOT have a turd in my pocket, as she would often ask whenever "we" misused the word "we" as kids) began using the English language so carelessly and also how such words containing so much hostility in meaning became household references to boost our egos and sense of dominance?

Consulting (funny...I first misspelled that word as "consluting", which is probably more accurate) dear Webster's Reference Library, I looked up the definition of "war"...this is straight from the *word ho* bible (or dictionary, if you would prefer not to think of Webster, a collection of word meanings, and prostitution all in the same description):

War - n. 1. fighting between nations 2. state of hostility 3. conflict, contest.

Then I looked up the word "battle": n. 1. fight between armies, combat, (verb) 2. fight 3. struggle

And finally, I glanced at the word "fight": v. 1. contend (with) in battle or in single combat 2. maintain against an opponent 3. resolve by combat 4. quarrel, dispute, contest, (and FINALLY a more palatable definition) 5. Resist

As you can tell, all three of these words were originally adopted in the English language to provide description or service to an action of violence, hostility, or dispute. My personal opinion (and of course I DO have one) is, I just don't think we should be using these type of words in conjunction with discussions about DISEASE...I frankly think this type of notion just sets up our *diseases* to be mighty pissed off at us and to seek REVENGE!

Western medicine's philosophy is to obliterate that which challenges us in hopes of ending the challenge or preserving the body. We use antibiotics, cell-destroying chemotherapies, and surgical removal in hopes of obliterating that which afflicts us...often without regard or understanding WHY we have become diseased or afflicted in the FIRST place. It is an *out of sight, out of mind*, that we are now paying a sometimes costly price for. MUST I mention MRSA here (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)? The infection "WE" created from the overuse and misuse of antibiotics???

I am certainly NOT advocating a *lay down and die* approach toward disease management either...gawd knows I've PERSONALLY tried pretty much all of the Multiple Sclerosis drugs out there in hopes of finding that one drug that would either obliterate or slow down the demyelinating disease that is tapping on my last good nerve. But every time I have tried to "war" against, "conquer", "fight", or "battle" my MS, it ALWAYS seems to end up flanking me and kicking me squarely in the arse!

These days (and after month upon month of ending up bloodied on the battlefield), I am trying to take a more *coexisting* approach in my relationship with IS true...I don't always understand or appreciate the local customs and ways my MS has of doing things. And often times, we seem quite at odds in our dialogue with each other. But I am slowly coming to realize "WAR" against my MS is not the answer...anymore than WAR against a nation or group of people resolves a conflict.

To everything (and on a GOOD day!), I must believe there exists a purpose...a reason...a season or a place. I can choose to coexist with my neighbors or my disease process...OR, I can choose to be at WAR. And if I choose WAR, I must also be ready and willing to accept there will be no peace and many *casualties*...

So, blessings to you, Farrah, and your cancer...may you find more peace and less WAR with your disease process, leaving only comfort instead of casualties in spirit and mind...


Lanette said...

I watched Farrah's entire program. Mostly because I was THAT curious (and I just had a CAT Scan last week for a "mass" in my neck - still waiting for the results).

I didn't pay so much attention to the title but was more interested in what she was doing to beat it. I too am overall anti-war. One thing Farrah has that the average person doesn't is the funds to start a war against Cancer. We can't all just hop on a chartered plane to Germany and drag our best friend along for treatment.

Webster said...

I'm impressed, Linda, for this is quite a shift in your approach to dealing with your MS. I agree with you, too. When we choose to FIGHT MS there is always some collateral damage. Disease 'management' (as opposed to obliteration) is a better approach IMO.

Feel better soon.

Blindbeard said...

I am at war with the limitations that MS has given me. I accept that I have it, I resent that it limits me, so I gather my troops and battle my limitations -- until my nap time of course.

Kelley said...

I agree wholeheartedly about our use of language when speaking of our disease. From the time I was diagnosed, I chose to say that MS is a disease that must be MANAGED, not fought, battled or resisted. I was just so damned happy it wasn't something fatal, like a brain tumor, that I could deal with it in those terms.

Perhaps this whole use of language should be examined by the world at large. Hmm.


Sara said...

interesting points my dear cheesewiz!

Miss Chris said...

This "war" on everything is getting annoying for me too. They need to come up with some new jargon.

Walk Stars said...

Until this morning I did not even know Ms. Fawcett had cancer. Leonard Pitts had an excellent piece about celebrities having a right to privacy. I almost didn't read it because I tend to avoid any celebrity pieces. I like your picture of her better than the one our paper used.

I agree with you in theory in a loose way a little bit regarding terminology.

I remember reading a piece years back regarding visualization as a helpful disease fighting technique. It was all very new-agey and they recommended that the person visualize the white blood cells as little army troopers and the cancer (or bacterial or whatever) cells as a weaker enemy army. I always thought that the folks into alternative holistic approaches probably weren't into the whole army thing. (I personally have issues with coexistence but I don't want to sound like a right wing extremist so I'll just let it pass)

Y'all have given me much to think about - I am always interested in words and how they are (mis)used.

BTW - I believe the correct cliche is "A mouse in your pocket!!!!!"

Herrad said...

Hello Linda,

I totally agree with you, thanks for putting it so well.


Sherry said...

I can't fight MS, it is bigger than me so I deal with it like a hangnail. What else can I say...I did not watch the show as 1.) there was no tee-vee, 2.) even if there was a tee-vee, I would probably have *issues* with it since my father died of cancer and I have ISSUES with cancer.

No I don't need counseling. I just avoid it. LOL.

My name is now Sherry as I am phasing out my old email address. If you can't figure it out by now I'm "Have Myelin?" or whatever you wanna call me. :p

Spaz Attack said...

If MS were a war or a battle than we lost before we ever were aware we'd gotten into it.

We can try denial, hate, anger and every sort of drug available. Alas, it is was it is.

For myself, somehow I've learned to accept and somehow move forward to see the light of another day... yet there are many times I find myself glancing back, finger poised ready to flip the switch off.

"Not yet," I say to myself. "Perhaps tomorrow will be better."

My fear is I will wait too long; Will my body's decline take my right to decide my own fate away from me? Never may that happen!