Cancer and Choice to Fight

by Aileen Kader The juxtaposition of cancer and choice at first seems rather odd.  What choice does one have when they realize they have cancer?  Oh, sure, there are the obvious decisions such as which doctors, which treatments—allopathic, holistic, a combination-- etc.  But what about the choice to “fight” cancer as though cancer were an enemy to be annihilated?   That certainly is the mindset of not only the medical community but also of the population at large.  It seems like everyone assumes cancer must be fought.  But where does that leave those of us who abhor conflict and confrontation?  What if the idea of fighting is an anathema?  Then what?  Does the diagnosis become a death sentence?

First, let me be very clear where I’m coming from.  In 2006 I was diagnosed with cancer…stage 4…in my bone marrow throughout my entire skeleton.  Bi-weekly blood transfusions kept me alive.  But I did not have it in me to fight, even though I was on a short, direct path to death.  My challenge was to find my alternatives.  I decided to empower myself with choice.

If you are a fighter and the war metaphor works for you, go for it!  But if you’re the more pacifist type, then come along for something that may give you hope, for I have been completely cancer-free for over 5 years…without having spent one day “fighting.”

First, fighting takes energy…LOTS of energy…energy that is better spent on getting well.  Why waste it on fighting?

Second, fighting engages fear, which by its nature is extremely disempowering.

Third, whatever is resisted WILL PERSIST precisely because the resistance energizes it.

So what’s the alternative?  EMBRACE IT!  What???  Embrace cancer?  Yes, I decided to embrace it, assuming that it had come to teach me something…something which I needed to learn, because now my life depended on discovering and implementing that knowledge.  One of the blessings of chemo and teetering between life and death is that all resistance and denial got obliterated.  All masks dissolved.  Reality revealed itself butt-naked.  I knew without a doubt that the fundamental precepts of my life thusfar had gotten me to where I was.  Now all those beliefs needed examination.    This became the juiciest, most rewarding part of the journey.  This is where I gave myself permission to reinvent my life so that it reflected my authentic self instead of the self that tried to accommodate everybody else.  This was when my rebirth began, where the imaginal cells of me, the caterpillar, began to rearrange themselves into me, a spectacular butterfly.  And as the butterfly began to form, the cancer receded.  Today the butterfly is flying freely… the cancer is gone, its purpose fulfilled.

So you have cancer?  That’s really the good news, for it means you have a chance for your butterfly to emerge.  Yes, the physical aspects of cancer still need to be addressed medically.  But for deeper, internal healing, keep asking what has to change.  Exclude nothing.  Examine everything.  EVERYTHING.


Written and contributed by Aileen Kader.  Aileen currently mentors cancer patients.  She is also an EFT Practitioner and a Psych-K Facilitator, as EFT and Psych-K were the most helpful tools for her in her journey.  She invites your inquiries at