Fight or Flight

6 Dec


“You’re so brave!”  It’s the refrain that every cancer patient gets from their entourage.  Or even from people that they’ve just met.

It’s not true – we’re more like gladiators facing the lions and bears and wolves in the Coliseum during the times of the Roman Empire, our backs up against a wall with a formidable foe coming to call.  It’s fight or flight, and flight is not an option if you want to escape with your life.

Fortunately, I’ve always been a “fight” person, much like my longest friend Renée’s little sister.  When she showed up for orientation week at the beginning of her college career at West Point, there was confusion over her paperwork.  The doctors had marked on her physical that she was 61” tall, but the COs had misread that she was 6’1” tall.  “Cadet!” the CO yelled at her, “Why are you so short, cadet?!”  “I don’t know, sir!” she shouted back, “Go ask God, sir!”  She also held up remarkably well under interrogation training, taunting the COs with “Sounds like looooove!” when they called her “cunt” and “whore”.

I come from the same fighting stock – my motto has always been If you hit me first, I’ll hit you back harder.  Once I even told a high school coach who threatened to paddle my class that if he even so much as thought about lifting a finger to me that my daddy would be on his way down from Dallas with his shotgun to take care of his ass.  Needless to say, he never threatened me with corporal punishment again.

I was given a chai pendant as a joint congratulations on your MA/go kick cancer’s butt present by my Swiss Mom.  Ever since then, it has been the standard on my battle flag – what better to fight cancer with than life?


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