The Positivity Behind Stage IV Breast Cancer

Lisa Bonchek Adams, a mother first and a cancer patient second. Stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4…is where the line is drawn. Stage 4 breast cancer is where Lisa is now in her life, another chapter added on. This chapter is not her end, but merely the beginning to a long fighting battle that she has continued to overcome with enormous amounts of positivity. Positivity, love from others, encouragement, and her own will to survive help create her antidote to move on.

In the article “Optimism can help, hinder patients”, written by Julie Deardorf, we learn that negativity is waiting around every corner to break you down. Shelly Hubbs, much like Lisa, was also diagnosed with the most dangerous level of breast cancer. However, Shelly was told by 2 out of her three doctors that she had no chance of surviving. With her life looking at only six more months, the only positivity she could reach for was the third doctor. “I have no doubt we can get six months, the real goal is can we get you past five years?” (Deardorf, 4). This spike of hope was all that was needed to turn Shelly’s life around. Like Lisa, Shelly found her inner fire, and successfully continued with treatment and has made it past the 6 month mark. Having said that, was encouragement, positivity, and care from others all she needed to fight this deadly disease?

“Demilitarizing Disease: Ambivalent Warefare and Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals” written by Robina Khalid, shares other similarities with Lisa’s story. For instance Khalid quotes Lorde saying “The novel is finished at last. It has been a lifeline…My work kept me alive this past year, my work and the love of women” (Khalid, 701). Lorde, much like Lisa finds a way to help empower themselves. For Lorde its her book, for Lisa it is her family because being a mother is her first job and one she needs to be present for. Lisa not only find empowerment within her family but also from friends. A fellow fighter, close and dear to Lisa has past, but in time before they were each others rock. Having someone very similar to you who understand the battle raises you level of confidence and adds onto your desire to overcome.

“Battle against cancer is indeed a battle of the will: the disease is “a very bad dream” from which she must “wake [her]self up” while despair is a cancer in and of itself” (Khalid, 702). This part of the text is explaining that the will to survive is the answer to overcoming this hardship of cancer. The cancer is exposed of being the despair and the negativity in ones life, which can be pushed out by the overwhelming “will”… best known as positivity. The positivity can be seen throughout Lisa’s own personal cancer blog that explains her journey. She takes on cancer as a task and shines through with giving her readers encouragement and insight of her day to day tasks. For instance, in one of her post she explains, “I’m not functional for the most part and the days are very tough. But I know this is what needs to happen before I can get my strength back and the cancer under control.” Control is the grasping of despair and diminishing it.

Lisa Adams, Shelly Hubbs, and Lorde herself all are faced with breast cancer. Each finds empowerment from family, friends, survivors/fighters, and most importantly within themselves. Empowerment also known as encouragement, love, and positivity are what push these women to continue. To finish the book, to stay in position of being a mother, to trust the good news. Letting the despair, the negativity, the undermining evil take over is what they did not let happen. By staying positive, Shelly was able to move past the 6 month mark, Lorde was able to be her own hero and have pride for her scars, and Lisa is still fighting but not giving in. With the blaze of support, Lisa, like the others will use this antidote to complete her battle and live free of disease.

Work Cited

  • Khalid, Robina Josephine. “Demilitarizing Disease: Ambivalent Warfare and Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals” African American Review (Fall 2008): 697-717. MLA International Bibliography. Web.
  • Deardorf, Julie.”Optimism Can Help, Hinder Patients.” Chicago Tribune. 23 Sept 2010. Web.
  • (Personal Blog of Lisa Bonchek Adams)
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One Response to The Positivity Behind Stage IV Breast Cancer

  1. Delaney,
    It’s interesting that staying “positive” and what it means to various authors is the focus of both of your first reading response entries. You have an easy-flowing prose style that makes your observations very readable. At times, you might want to dig a bit more deeply into the texts themselves to analyze these various moments of positive imagery (you do this more with W;t than other readings). For example, you seem to suggest that Lorde’s anger can be positive at times. Can you give us some examples of this? I’ll look forward to hearing if you would like to apply this idea to “Fault in Our Stars” as well, since I think your thesis on changing definition of the positive could easily apply there as well. Keep up the good work–italicize titles on Works Cited in hard copy papers that you submit. I know HTML code doesn’t always make that easy.

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