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Wishing My Life Away


Wishing is fairly commonplace, but can be extremely counterproductive especially in the lives of cancer patients.

There’s an old saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” It took a while to understand exactly what that meant. Basically, it means if we could wish things away and change them, we could get on with our lives. How profound! It certainly would be nice if we could wish things away and make things in our lives a little easier, wouldn’t it?

How often I’ve wished I could make my current situation better. It seems every other sentence that comes out of my mouth begins with “I wish…” And while I know wishing is futile, the statement often expresses a heartfelt desire.

My current wish revolves around my health. This morning, when I woke up, the first words out of my mouth were, “I wish I could make this lymphedema disappear!” Immediately following that statement, I belted out another wish, “I wish I never had cancer.” Both statements were valid. Both expressed important sentiments of my heart. I knew, immediately after uttering them, neither of my wishes would come true.

Instead of becoming hopeless knowing I couldn’t make lymphedema disappear or reverse my cancer diagnosis, I felt a little better just saying the words, “I wish…” What harm was there in beginning a statement with those two little words? I couldn’t think of any. The truth of the matter was my disappointment in having to deal with health conditions I had no control over.

It’s pretty common for people to wish things in their lives were different. None of us seem to be satisfied with everything in our lives. We wouldn’t be human if we couldn’t complain about something now and then, would we? It seems to be one of the things we’re best at doing even if our words don’t seem to come out in the form of a complaint, they often turn that way after the words, “I wish,” are spoken.

I’ll admit, most times I wish something about lymphedema, it is more than a little complaint. If I were truthful, I’d have to say my wishing words regarding the painful swelling in my arms usually come out in a fairly hateful sounding tone. Not only do I wish I didn’t have lymphedema, I downright hate it! The same thing holds true for breast cancer, not only do I wish I’d never had it, I hate the fact that I did.

Having the power to wish away life altering conditions would be wonderful. How nice it would be to wave a magic wand and reverse situations in a millisecond, but wishing is best left to fairy tales. Reality can’t be avoided with cancer or lymphedema.

Be honest. Have you found yourself wishing something away? Perhaps you’ve said, “I wish chemotherapy didn’t make me so sick!” or “Oh, how I wish treatment would end!” Your words might have even teetered on the hateful end of the spectrum like mine. If you’re willing to admit it, you’ll agree I’m not the only one wishing.

I can’t promise I won’t continue to utter statements that begin with the words, “I wish…,” but I’ll try to be more cognizant of using them. No one ever promised life would be fair, although I must say, I surely wish it was.

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