Saturday, March 20, 2010

how we talk about cancer

the link above takes you to a New York Times Health article that discusses experiencing cancer and the language we use to try to describe it. Gina Cullen (Mac '74 from Seattle) identified it on her blog, where she often shares her experience with lung cancer, and I appreciated it enough to copy it here.
For myself, I agree that "fighting" does not sound like what I am experiencing. Neither does "bravery". More - since i have given up on working for the remainder of my just over 3 weeks of remaining chemotherapy and mostly spend my days sitting in a recliner chair watching South Park, old Harry Potter movies and other things TIVOed from cable with the dogs - I would have to say I can't remember when i have felt more relaxed - a state not really compatible with "fighting".

Nor does "brave" seem to describe my internal emotions. More like "acceptance", a far less demanding emotion.

I am optimistic about outcome here, but recognize realistically that the optimism may not predict outcome. Putting things in order internally and externally is an easier stage than the periods of life when I have been struggling with persistent hard battles. This one is mostly out of my hands - although I fully intend to do whatever i can to make decisions and take actions that will tip the balance in optimistic directions.

Beyond that, each day the primary thought is, given the limits of my time or (these days mostly) energy, what is the most valuable use of the time available to me today? that is the most important decision I face these days. Actually probably the most important decision any of us face any day - just much of our lives we have the luxury - or disadvantage - of not being conciously aware of that.

Thanks again to all of you for your support, your friendship, and your gifts to my life.

1 comment:

  1. And one point I also made in my blog that is worth making here. To all of you who are Louisa's friends and relatives, please take a bit of time when you are with her and think about whether you are taking care of her or is she taking care of you? That's one of the most difficult things I have faced during my time with cancer, is comforting folks when I tell them I have cancer, rather than them comforting me. So again, please think on it when you are with Louisa, particularly during this last tough segment of treatment, when it's far more difficult to do things, even those things that you might think are easy such as posting on her blog. Just assume that no news is good news and that you will hear as soon as she is able to post.