Sunday, December 2, 2012


Bader Ginsburg, that is.  I did in fact buy Jeffrey Toobin's new book "The Oath" during my little spree last week, and am managing to read it.  The other night I learned that in 1999 Ruth Bader
Ginsburg had colon cancer and received radiation and chemotherapy for it, during which she did not miss one single day on the bench.  And here I sit, most days, alternating between the couch and the other couch, occasionally doing an errand or a mellow excercise session, coming back home, complaining.  I need to think more about this tiny, amazing woman.  I am certain these treatments made a person feel a whole lot worse in 1999 than they do now.  How did she manage it?

Jon says that were I a Supreme Court Justice I would manage it too; I am not, so I don't have to.  Still,  it is intriguing, isn't it?  I admired Ginsburg plenty before, but now that admiration has turned into more scary-stalker-fandom.  My own little Catch-22 problem is that I have nowhere I need to be.  If I had a job, I would still manage to do it on a lot of days of chemo.  I don't have a job, and did not plan on cancer being part of my transition from bookseller to something else, but here it is.  The catch is that it does not feel appropriate to look for a job until my treatment is done.  I still have the hardest third of the chemo to do, a major surgery, and likely radiation, which I believe will involve day trips to somewhere, five days a week.  Plus, my job hunting confidence will improve with hair growth, I have to admit.  So....  the upshot is, unlike Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or my mother or cousin (who also worked during their cancer treatments), I am not working, and thus spend a lot of my time feeling like I don't have enough energy to do anything.  It just goes to show - context and circumstance are a lot of this.

The solution to this conundrum?  I have no clue.  As with much of what life throws at a person, as lucky or unlucky I can feel when inappropriately comparing my situation to others (that pendulum swings very, very widely on any given day), I just have to muddle through it.  On a good day I go with the flow and enjoy watching Homeland or Doc Martin or Modern Family, and reading magazines, guilty pleasures in another life.  On a bad day I feel useless, and like a spoiled baby.

I have six more weeks of chemo to work this stuff out, or not, and then I will have a big surgery from which to heal.  As my friend told me in the pool yesterday (actually, in the hot tub - the hot tub was longer than the swim, unheard of!), next year when we are in the hot tub getting ready for a hard swim, this will all be a distant or not so distant memory, but a memory nonetheless, and I will have made it out the other side.


  1. Write, Write, Write!
    I look forward, checking daily to see if you have written more. You inspire me to write and also to read what you are reading.
    Write book reviews too. I really miss your newsletter and I know of others who also miss them. How about a blog of book reviews too.
    It is much harder to write, though, than to go to a job every day!

  2. "Sometimes we... instinctively class as spineless laxity every moment not devoted to pure action. Hence an observable distrust of preliminary reflection, a period of recuperation, creative reverie, relaxation, the acquisition of knowledge that is not immediately useful." --Jean Louis Servan

    I have no idea who Jean Louis Servan is, nor do I remember where I found that quote, but it spoke to me deeply, as I also tend to feel the need to be active, "productive," and would no doubt feel the same way reading about RBG. (Heck, I might anyway, and I have a job outside the home!) Your recuperation and process of making sense of it all is legitimate "activity", more than enough. The rest is gravy.

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