What should the role of a cancer survivor be? Why are we supposed to be giants among people, after all we are just regular people? Why are we to be measured against the likes of Lance Armstrong? I know that I am a simple mortal, not a god or a Nobel Peace Prize winner; I am simply a person who wishes to live my live with a good quality and for many more years. What is wrong with this, or should I say what is wrong with me? Does my lack of a desire to change the world mean that I am any less a person?
Let’s be honest, Lance Armstrong is no giant, he is a fraud. He was diagnosed with stage 4 Testicular cancer, but he survived this disease even though it was very advanced. But what is not discussed is that stage 4 testicular cancer is one of the few cancers that is still reversible. Don’t get me wrong, I am always pleased that someone has beaten cancer, but in his case this victory is not a sign from up high.
Not only did he survive the disease, he established a persona of being in magnificent health, the envy of not only fellow cancer survivors, but of all people. He went on to win 7 Tour de France bike races, an unbelievable accomplishment. This was a major accomplishment, but as he recently confessed (as if we did not already know) he did this by taking illegal performance enhancing drugs. His accomplishments were not only a scam, but also an abuse and an insult to all of us.
He also degraded his body, which should be a temple. Who but a cancer survivor should know the importance of our body, yet he abused his body? His taking illegal drugs into his body to distort his physical prowess to compete in a sporting event are an offence in the sporting world and a catastrophe in the survivor world. Worse, he has become a terrible role model for our children and grandchildren.
I do recognize the great value of the survivorship programs created and funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The work of the foundation is laudable, actually brilliant. Sadly, the foundation is built on a fraud. Despite this I hope and pray that the foundation is able to continue their good work in the survivor community.
These opinions are my own personal opinions and not necessarily those of Malecare.
Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.
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