Last month I shared that an author I was reading said that the non-expression of emotions is a hallmark of the “cancer personality.” Several people cautioned me that labeling a cancer personality would make people feel guilty for “causing” their cancer. Even if non-expression of feelings turns out to be one of the factors in the development of cancer, I don’t believe any of us are guilty of causing our cancers.
I wish we could examine all factors that might have contributed to the growth of cancer without feeling guilty. If my repressed emotions have had a part in causing my cancer, I don’t think I am any more responsible for that than if the food I was fed as a child has contributed to my cancer. I have always done the best I could with what I know.
I hope I don’t resist any new information because it may mean I have done something “wrong” in the past. When we found out DDT might promote cancer, we were able to use that information to quit using DDT. We didn’t feel guilty because we had used it unknowingly. I hope we can approach potential emotional issues in the same way. I want to use new information to make changes that can help me be healthier now, rather than get stuck feeling guilty about what I didn’t know in the past.
I could also feel guilty about not eating the perfect diet now. Since I have attended many Cancer-Fighting Kitchen workshops, I have enough information to eat the perfect anti-cancer diet. But there are other factors in my life. I’m busy, sometimes tired, and maybe even lazy. I’m looking forward to being motivated, yet again, by hearing Lise and Laura in Macon, GA, on May 30th, and in Seattle, WA, on July 12th. I know I will add some new tools to my cancer-fighting toolbox; I will feel a renewed level of motivation to use the tools I have; and I won’t feel guilty that I didn’t use them yesterday.
In the Spirit of Healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about what Jan is referring to above, you can read what she wrote last month: Is there a Cancer Personality?