Privacy and Cancer

After a trying week that ended with a girlfriend Zoom, I was hit with the news of the passing of the extraordinary actor, Chadwick Boseman. At the young age of 43, this bright light battled colon cancer for four years, and in those four years he’s brought us some wonderful batch of work:

  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Black Panther
  • Infinity Wars
  • 21 Bridges
  • Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee)
  • Ma’ Rainey's Black Bottom (not yet released)

So for the past few years and in his thirties, this young man has worked feverishly to leave us with some powerful gems along with his prior collection of work, all while battling cancer. Many of us know so very well the trials of staying on course with work and cancer, so when I learned of his working through with chemotherapy and surgeries for the last 4 years, it was a familiar memory.

Battling cancer behind closed doors

So reading the statements that the star was battling cancer yet no one knew, well I wanted to open up that dialogue a bit. As I continue to state you have those that scream their cancer battles loud and clear, and there are many that process their journey with a subtle hand. Not every aspect of a person’s life needs to be a topic of discussion.

I can relate to keeping aspects of my cancer journey under wraps. I’ve written how when I did share my diagnosis, some people could not wrap their minds around what I was telling them, they immediately got stuck on the word “cancer”.

The word cancer is powerful and we all don’t react in the best of ways when it presents itself. I didn’t know Chadwick, but I can imagine for him and the many survivors battling cancer that the circumstance can’t outweigh the makeup of your art, craft, and being. By telling everyone that you work with that you have cancer, it usually opens the door for pity and uneasiness. No one wants that to be reminded every time you have a regular conversation about work, yet acquaintances can’t look past the idea of cancer. So with that idea, it’s no one’s business, other than those that matter, to be included on what is going on behind closed doors and what you may be going through.

Our right to privacy

When it comes to a celebrity dealing with life issues, the public for some strange reason feels the need to comment and weigh in on that person’s life. The right to divulge our walk with cancer is a special one because not everyone needs to join the commencement. I call it commencement as the only goal when the ‘C” word comes into play is maintain with remission. Sometimes not everyone is on this walk for your benefit but more for prying.

We have the right to limit what we share and when we share it. So when we hear those dreaded words of the many who pass away from cancer, yet no one knew they were sick, let's remember how this walk is a private matter and there’s no shame in keeping that to our heart.

Wakanda Forever, Chadwick. May you rest in peace!

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile... when you feel like it

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