Category Archives: Life or Death

Rules of life, love, hopes & aspirations, and death

The “C” Word – Negotiating Cancer in One Easy Lesson

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This is a depressing subject. Talking about cancer – so don’t read further thinking I’ll add any enlightenment to it. It’s the disease where at best the cure feels more awful than the curse. And I don’t believe the politically correct crap that labels all cancer patients as brave or heroic, so I’ll probably be labeled a terrible misanthrope by the “politically correct” community.

I’ve just finished my third bout with cancer, and I wasn’t the one fighting cancer. The doctors did the fighting. They are the generals. Radiation and poisonous chemicals are their weapons of choice. My body was only the bleak and scarred battlefield.

I had two options in the matter – decide if I wanted to live, therefore submitting to the treatment, or whether I wanted to just let the dark side of nature take its course. My choice has been, each time so far, to say screw nature – I want to live.

I want to live to do the things I denied myself while getting through Life 101. I put work first a lot, often deferring to it even when I really didn’t need to. Life is, fairly and naturally, a struggle. Yet sometimes we embrace more struggle than is necessary.

So with cancer, I find myself dealing with one of the ugly flaws in nature. Maybe it is luck of the draw. Maybe I ate the wrong things or just ate too much. Maybe my genes weren’t up to muster. Moot point. Cancer is part of nature, and unfortunately a part of me. I’m not happy about it, and frankly – when I undergo treatment and suffer the many sickening side effects – I feel completely entitled to be sometimes depressed.

For those who have loved ones undergoing chemotherapy. I have this advice: Don’t tell them not to be depressed. They are entitled. Instead give them something helpful to distract them from their situation. Engage them. Occupy their minds with anything and everything else.

That, for better or worse, is my coping mechanism. I do my best to completely zone out when undergoing chemo. I don’t want to share stories with my fellow victims. Many are worse off than I am now. And regardless of the heavy sympathy I have for them, I’m reminded I could eventually be there myself – a place I do not want to be. Truly depressing. And it is not good to wallow in depression. I allow myself just a little bit. Allow your loved ones a little, then get their minds off it.

That’s about all I have to say – no pearls of wisdom. However, I’ll add that life is meant to be lived to its fullest and brightest. Do your best. Be your best. And allow yourself life’s rewards when you’ve earned them. Otherwise, you’ll only regret not showing yourself some kindness when it was deserved.

Last word – my life is my own. Your life is your own. The doctors don’t own it. Neither does the government, church or anyone else. When anyone reaches the point where they are no longer able to physically function on their own without pain, it is their right and their decision alone whether to end it. By all means, rage against the dying of the light, but rage too against living without hope. For end-of-life decisions, you must make your own rules.

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