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Swirls of light amid the Darkness of the Big C

January 9, 2012

Going through cancer treatments you don’t count the days. I feel like I’m walking down a long corridor, sometimes it gets angled, other times it drops beneath me and forms a shaft and I’m falling and flailing, and other times it’s a square hole the round peg of my life is trying to climb out.

Doctors are always quick to rely on schedules and procedures and results and doses. But they don’t consider one factor: the pain. I know I’m paddling through these uncertain troughs and folds to get through this shorepound, but there’s no doubt the path ahead is filled with a shredding gauntlet needles and blood. There’s no denying it, and I have to get through it–even if I have to mix metaphors. I can get weary and then get a rush of energy, then sleep. And I realize some of the abruptness from doctors is because they are overworked and haven’t seen their families. Some develop a callousness that they pass off as professionalism. Maybe if those who are driven to be doctors don’t go into med school for two years after college so they can get a grasp on life and experience adolescence so that when they become doctors they acquire compassion. So they have some grasp of humanity beyond its fluids.

Anyway, you have to rely on some medication to stay ahead of the pain–and that’s without having beer or wine! Ka-yikes.

They say listen to the body, but so far my body has been lying to me.

Sometimes I think of that play Everyman where a guy is reduced in a Job-like way of the things he values in life as he gets older. Cancer has a way of stripping you down, and altering you. I envy snakes who can slough off their skin and squirm on. But you get humbled and humbled by pain and submitting your body to treatments that lead to a cure. Everything else seems like a diversion to lull you into surrender. And you endure amid all the swirls of the disease’s darkness, reaching out for the spars of light and keep climbing.

I don’t see it as a being stripped, but a process of growing out.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 4:31 pm

    Fred- I offer you so much gentleness and compassion for all the pain and fear and exhaustion that you must be going through… My partner is dying from cancer, but is unwilling to talk about it… I don’t know if you would be able or willing, but perhaps you could check out my new blog about how I am experiencing this and perhaps give me some insight. If you can’t, please know that i completely understand. Much grace and strength to you.

    • January 9, 2012 5:42 pm

      I’m sorry for your situation.

      You were asking for advice. I can only come up with a couple things. One: if you have cancer and someone you love wants to know everything about it, you hesitate because you have the disease, and by talking about it, it’s like giving that disease to the person. And 2: In a book called We The Victors , which is about cancer survivors. A wife tells her husband she has cancer. At first, they grieve and wonder about selling the house etc. But then the husband leaves and comes back and plants a tree in their front yard and says to her, “We’re going to watch this tree grow.” You said your partner’s cancer is incurable so I know this story doesn’t exactly apply, but what does apply is the longing for life itself. And unless there are some legal issues you have to resolve with estates etc, my advice is bring as much life to your partner as you can, your feelings are the ones that don’t matter, put yourself aside and bring the best of your life to your partner. It requires sacrifice of course, you are experiencing a different type of pain, and ideally, by bringing life to your partner, the partner will feel yours. I’m not trying to sound too Hallmark about this. Because there could be denial issues, and believe me, I’m still walking in the land of uncertainty myself until I make it out of this haunted house. Oh, here’s another cancer story, the comedian Andy Kaufman had cancer and he was weak he started to get up for popcorn and someone said, “I’ll get it for you.” He replied, “No. I want to go. I might see something.”

      Hope this helps

      Fred

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