Poland is where my maternal grandparents were born. It’s a piece of north, central European real estate where marauders fought over who’d own its turf and what emperor or king had the biggest whatever.
Just like Poland was the site of waves of invaders, winners and losers, so my body’s had its invasions, real or perceived. I’ll clump the invasions into categories in order: family of origin anger invasion, the teen years puberty invasion that laid the groundwork for the dating invasion and baby invasion and maturation invasion in preparation for the mutant army of menopausal invasion.
I can enumerate which invader left which collection of scars and bruises in each spot on my body and spirit. But, like Poland, I bided my time and became sovereign over myself. Until that latest ravaging bitch of an invader described as Emperor Cancer hit me with a full frontal assault.
As an invader, cancer is Attila the Hun for its scope of ambition, the Crusaders in its belief of inevitable victory, and the Borg for its ruthlessness. All this dressed up to party in my own cells and organs, leaving the essential me with the morning after hangover while it had the great time. But hating the cancer would be like hating myself. That’s my tissue ravaging my tissue.
Here’s the thing: cancer and wars cause mayhem and destruction wherever they touch. I learned from all these invasions, hopefully became a better person because of them, grew and developed into a person I wouldn’t have become without them.
Just as helping a struggling chick prematurely break out of its eggshell may seem like kindness, it dooms that chick to weakness and deformity. I decided to use the cancer experience as part of my life journey and I can be grateful that it strengthens me.
Conflict managers focus on positive possibilities. So, rather than waste precious energy on fighting and battle language, I’m gonna love my immune system to full strength to keep my barbarian in check.
Google, that self-appointed interpreter of all matters cultural, tells me the Polish word for ‘love’ is miłość. Good to know.