Elizabeth Edwards Isn't 'Losing a Battle'

Tired cliche does a disservice to those with cancer, writes Mary Elizabeth Williams
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 12:22 PM CST
Elizabeth Edwards Isn't 'Losing a Battle'
In this photo taken Sept. 10, 2010, Elizabeth Edwards arrives at the "Stand Up To Cancer" television event at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

(Newser) – News that Elizabeth Edwards is stopping cancer treatment has led to the usual cliche about how she's losing her battle with the disease, writes Mary Elizabeth Williams. Please skip this "tired metaphor," writes Williams, herself diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It "reduces the experience of cancer to one of agonizing struggle," she writes at Salon. "It makes enemies of our bodies, and suggests that when, as Elizabeth Edwards has, one chooses to end treatment, one has waved a white flag of surrender."

Edwards has done nothing of the kind. "It's in the hardest experiences in our lives that we frequently find out how much we're loved, and exactly what we're made of," writes Williams. "They give us moments of unsurpassed joy, and the deepest of appreciation for the spectacular gift of every day. For many of us, life is not a battlefield. It's a celebration." Through her graceful words, Edwards shows she understands this, and she "continues to prove that you don't have to be a fighter to be every inch a victor." Click here to read Williams' full column. (Read more Elizabeth Edwards stories.)

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