Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hammered in July

This is a post I wrote and never published back in July.  I thought I might as well post it rather than ignoring what was happening and starting over in what is now about to be September. Post in progress that is more current!

Not the hammered of college years, spoken with a Massachusetts accent and nods of hungover understanding all around.  I am just hammered by chemo.  This week has left me empty, literally ("how much diarrhea is too much diarrhea?" is the question continually replaying in my head).  I finally broke down re: the sugar-free thing and got some apple juice and Gatorade, as water tastes like crap.  My muscles feel so weak that sitting upright at a wedding this afternoon for an hour was a challenge.  Yoga is necessary, and I go, though I am breaking a sweat standing with my arms lifted.  I have had three treatments, hopefully with three to go in this regimen, and I am already feeling burned out on feeling sick, helpless, and generally useless.  This is not good.

I read an article that spoke to me today.  Some gems from within:

"Cancer permanently disfigures a person’s self-image, and neither the culture nor his curriculum vitae includes the materials for a recon­struction."

"Cancer patients are betrayed by our culture’s dishonesty. Those who recover from the disease are hailed as “survivors”—a term appropriated from the Holo­caust—but while they are struggling with cancer and undergoing sometimes painful treatments for it, they are barely acknowledged. They are consigned to what Ralph Elli­son calls a 'hole of invisibility.'"

"When you are first diagnosed, you obsess over the numbers. You vow, “I will be one of the ten percent!” Your vow, though, has no effect whatever on the outcome of your disease."

The upshot of all this is that I, like many in my boat, really cannot stand "battle" terminology.  It implies that in losing one simply did not fight hard enough.  As the author of the above states,

"The journalistic convention in obituaries to praise the dead for their “coura­geous battle” against cancer is a lie designed to comfort the living and healthy. At best the cancer patient consents to 

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