I Refuse to Use the Word CANCER
Often times, it becomes easy to forget that illnesses like cancer affect more than just the patient. The story of Beridiana and her daughter, Sery, serve as a reminder that it affects not only the patient, but also the family, the friends and the community.
When Sery was diagnosed with Leukemia, her mother, Beridiana, was naturally plagued by anxieties, negative thoughts, and “what if’s”. Yet, instead of letting these negative emotions control her life, she eventually started to use the negative feelings to fuel the beginning of an incredible journey. She became a mom on a mission: she was going to alter and control the meaning of the word, cancer.
After her daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia, Beridiana vowed to never use the word, cancer, ever again. She detested the word because of its negative connotations and implications. Instead of being swallowed by the feelings of vulnerability, fear, and anxiety that constantly gnawed at her, she searched for a replacement for the word. After hours of contemplation, she discovered an alternative to the egregious word, nacer.
In Spanish, nacer means to be born, and to Beridiana that’s essentially what the diagnosis stood for. “…I decided to change the meaning of the word. I decided to control the meaning of the word ‘cancer’. I wanted to reinvent the word and its meaning,” she said. The diagnosis was the beginning of the journey of being reborn since it reawakened their family, friends, and the community. It gave everyone a chance to see the world anew, working together.
The right perspective makes the impossible possible and Beridiana is using the aphorism to conquer Leukemia. Their usage of a substitute word is their way of fighting back and they are not alone in this fight. The path they are forced to walk is long and treacherous but they are joined by friends, family and the Icing Smiles team. “It was a wake-up call, to magnify priorities, to realize how many people care and to find so many people along the way that say ‘you are NOT alone…’, ‘No One Fights Alone’,” Beridiana said.
Sery’s beautiful safari themed cake was made by Sugar Angel Sally Wilson with Sally’s Cakes n’ More in Arizona. Thank you Sally for all of your hard work and dedication to Icing Smiles and for providing Sery with her 14th birthday cake. We look forward to seeing more “smiles” from you in the future!
Written by contributing blogger Maggie Zhang.