“I have cancer…” There has not been a single person in history who ever wanted to utter those words. Those three little words represent suffering, death, shattered dreams, lives forever changed, etc.
Words in general, can be a funny thing. They are powerful! Somehow, words have a way of impacting us emotionally and mentally. Not only that, but they have a way to affect people around us, influence situations, change atmospheres and so much more.
From the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I absolutely refused to say, “I have cancer”. I have never referred to cancer as ‘my cancer’. I am extremely serious about that, to the point that when people would say things to me like, “sorry you have cancer”, or in conversations make references such as ‘your cancer’, I would correct them. I would firmly explain that I am dealing with cancer, but it is not mine.
As I stated in the beginning, words hold a certain kind of power. Therefore, I refuse to claim cancer as my property like it is something that belongs to me. Let me be very clear, I do not own cancer and cancer does not own me! It is an evil invasion that has infiltrated my body without an invitation nor permission, and it is certainly not welcome! It is not mine, and it does not belong into my body. I surely do not want it! Since it must go, I will not dare take ownership of it. However, what I do take ownership of is the journey to becoming healed and whole.
I am totally aware of the fact that calling it a journey is a bit of a controversial term within the cancer community. Since life is a journey, being diagnosed with cancer and everything that comes with it then, becomes part of that journey. But hey, that is a whole different topic, right?! After all, we are talking about the impact of words here.
Cancer has done so much harm, it has stolen more from me and countless others than I can say. Please do not get me wrong, going through this journey has also given me a lot and for that I am very grateful. Yet, after everything cancer has done to me, and countless people all over the world, I will not ever make this thief, this killer, this parasite, my property. Call me stubborn, but that is the story I am sticking to. 🙂
If you take a moment to think about it, making a verbal declaration such as “I have cancer”, can create a whole different cataclysmic mindset, and shift us into an entirely opposite emotional space. On the flip side, denouncing cancer can have the same effect mentally and emotionally. This means, we hold the power to shift our thinking as well as our emotions, through the words we choose and speak.
I am going to be very honest with you, this has made a major difference in my life. To me, it has been empowering not to claim cancer as my property. It gave me back a sense of control that cancer has robbed me off. Choosing my words wisely, and not owning cancer but owning the journey, has assisted me in shifting out of a victimized mindset, and into the position of a conqueror.
So today, I would like to invite you to join me with your preferred way of denouncing cancer as a personal belonging and claiming your power and control that cancer has tried to strip you of. What phrasing do you prefer to use when discussing your battle?
Founder of Vulvar Cancer Awareness Forum
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
I love this! Flipping your mindset is so incredibly powerful and healthy. I refuse to claim cancer or to let it claim me!!!
You have the absolute best attitude. I am adopting your outlook and not claiming cancer as mine. Bless you.
So well said. Love this article. The day you are diagnosed is not one like anything easily you can put into words easily. Sadness , anger, fear and so many. It does and cannot define you … being part of this group makes me feel less alone gives me hope and inspiration
You have made such a huge impact on so many, all while bringing more awareness on vulvar cancer. You are an inspiration! great write up!
So agree with you!!! Attitude is everything! Thank you so much for your positivity!
You are the strongest woman I know! Or virtually know 😉 To have the battles you have had and continue to have, and keep the positive mindset you have. I admire you completely. Keep up the good fight. Cancer can suck it!
While dealing with “that thing”. I was so determine to not let people treat me a “like a cancer patient” or “I’m dying.” “It or that” is what I called it alot. “It’s not staying in my body.” I felt the same as you have written. Like you felt my heart and thank you for putting them in words on paper so people can get a better understanding of maybe a tip of what is going on. You are a beautiful blessing.
I’m so proud of this gifted writer, pastor and confident too, she has so many
Great up lifting words. I say a certain doesn’t have me.
I’m fighting you are such a blessings
Truely an inspiration! I have not had that perspective and need to change!
This is so inspirational! I will definitely be changing my wording going forward! You’re an incredible support line for so so many fighting this “thing”!
Your continued fight to make the world a better place for all of us having this journey along with you is breathtakingly beautiful. You never fail to provide love and support for some many. You bring the positive to the forefront and continue to encourage others to find their path along the journey we will all conquer! Cheers to us, Yohanna, and I look forward to your next article.
Yohanna has been thru a lot, probably more than some. Yet, she has been a cheerleader for the rest of us. She has given so many words of wisdom when we needed it.
She had so much faith, not only for herself but for all of us. I’m proud to have her as a Sister Warrior…
Yohanna has lived and felt what each of us goes through daily. She’s been an inspiration to so many and has helped carry our burden. It’s so hard to reckon with Vulver cancer since it affects so many different parts of us. It’s so different on so many personal levels. Yes it’s hard to say that word. I guess whatever you want to call it we all know what it is and hearing Johanna speak about it just makes us feel we’re not alone. Thanks so much for all you do
Yohanna has a way with words. She continues to be an inspiration, not only to me, but the hundreds of women who know her. We are all in different boats, sailing the same ocean. Yohanna has been through so much, but, yet she continues to show her strength, and faith in God.
Yohanna has lived and felt what each of us goes through daily. She’s been an inspiration to so many and has helped carry our burden. It’s so hard to reckon with Vulvar cancer since it affects so many different parts of us. It’s so different on so many personal levels. Yes it’s hard to say that word. I guess whatever you want to call it we all know what it is and hearing Johanna speak about it just makes us feel we’re not alone. Thanks so much for all you do
So very well said! Thank you everyday for fighting and helping us fight. Thank you for your spirit. You have changed the way I will talk about this going forward.
Thank you for you sweet words! It’s my honor to fight alongside you! 💜
Your words are sound and inspiring! I don’t “own” cancer either. I say I am fighting cancer, to mark my battle lines! Fighting, as opposed to owning, empowers me and leaves me in the drivers seat.
I love it!! ❤️
Very insightful article! It can be life changing to look at things through a different lens.