Surviving vs. Fighting – My View


Joe Schipilliti is 23 y/o stage IIB testicular cancer fighter from Boston, MA and currently receiving chemotherapy at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

He sent us this message: Today, I just started my third and final cycle of Chemotherapy. I am writing this email to LIVESTRONG because I not only support the organization 100% but firmly believe I am a survivor. I am a testament to the LIVESTRONG name and want to share my recent post on cancer fighting.


joe1One issue that I have been struggling with since the declaration of my cancer has been: Surviving vs. Fighting. A common misconception of having a very serious illness is that we, the patients, are unable to fight back against this tyrant. We are forced to believe that cancer is stronger than us and our only option is to passively surrender and wait for the brutal beating coming our way.

I have experienced a beating about as bad as they come, but still refuse to agree with this mindset.

I have shunned the passive lifestyle and decided to make deliberate steps towards fighting back against this wicked oppressor. My first step was to realize that although cancer has taken all my hair, my taste in food, and practically all of my energy, it has failed at taking the things that truly make up my being.

“Cancer cannot cripple love. It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot destroy confidence. And it cannot silence courage.”

Approaching my last cycle of chemotherapy, my doctors are unsure whether or not I will still need surgery (a high percentage of patients in my situation often do). Despite the depressing news, I walked out of my appointment with a smile on my face and some news for my doctor. I said to him, ” Sir, I am not a survivor, I am a fighter. If the cancer comes back to try and take my life… So be it. But please know, this is going to be the hardest fight of its life.”

Debilitated by nausea, fatigue, a headache, and pain, I walked into the gym and began my workout. Cancer has a way of instantaneously putting your entire life into perspective, and I am thankful for that. I dream bigger than I ever have and imagine a healthy future where I am no longer shadowed by cancer’s darkness, but illuminated by its light!

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