Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making Peace with the Intruder

Here's the thing: I guess I'm trying to use humor to help cope with cancer. With the idea of it, the reality of it, the treatment, the prognosis, and especially the pain.

I also have serious, thoughtful moments; for several reasons, those aren't the facets of my life I've chosen to share. I read several other MM blogs and am impressed with the variety and depth of others' coping skills and philosophies. It's strange that we may have nothing in common beyond this disease, but that makes for a very powerful connection. I feel they are all friends I haven't met yet. With his permission, here is an excerpt from "John Smith's" blog I found moving and thoughtful:

On the net, I follow several blogs of other individuals with cancer. To my virtual friends out there, Beth, Karen, Nancy, Cindy, Andre, Teresa, Margaret, Leslie, Don, and Susie, I also say, “Thank you.”

We comprise a remarkable geographic diversity stretching from the Northwest to the East Coast and across the Atlantic to Italy. Our differences notwithstanding, we share a common foe. We all dance around our fears, trying to find comfort with our unpredictable futures. Some employ self-deprecating humor in order to introduce their disease into the conversation. Their cheerful endurance of cancer’s chaos makes me laugh. I admire their humor even though cancer, for me, is more a mystery than a comedy.

Other writers detail their treatments and share lab results and side effects and symptoms so that readers can relate to the disease through the shared experience. Some crusade for a cure; they devote their pages to the latest clinical trials or published papers on possible remedies. Still others bluntly declare their hatred of cancer, referring to it as “the beast.” They are justifiably angry at the indignities that come with this fight.

Accordingly, the writers who I currently follow hold a special place in my day. I anticipate their unique perspectives. I collect from them clues to the questions posed by a chronic illness. First and foremost among these is how do you keep talking about it without inviting sympathy. Obviously, there are ways to do this and these blogger’s distinctive styles show me how. Cancer interrupted the momentum of our lives. Our musings proclaim we are not victims in this drama but protagonists asserting our value.

Some thrive following treatment, some tiptoe along with a stable but active disease, and others deal aggressively with a relapse. I consider their insights more valuable than those of my oncologist. I learn from their honesty. We acknowledge each other; we worry about one another, yet we keep our one-of-a-kind voices. We share our hopes and frustrations. Round and round we go with tales of living the life, trying to make peace with this intruder.
Thanks, John, for sharing this, and for being part of my invisible network of support. Getting to know my allies has been one of the surprise bonuses of cancer. "It's the club no one wants to join - but membership has its privileges."

3 comments:

tk said...

Thanks for posting this and thanks John

Christine said...

Thought I would stop a minute and say hello and not just lurk about.

What he says is so true. We all deal with it in individual ways. Even my children deal with their fathers MM differently.

Every day is also a different day. When I wake up in the morning I never know what my day will be like until it plays out. Will it be happy or sad. Will I be frustrated and angry?

For the most part humor works for me, although there are days where humor fails and it has no place. They are sad days.I have learned to make peace with that. It is O.K. to cry. This has taken a long time.

La Cootina said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christine. Tk, too. So far, I've only cried out of anger/frustration with the medical community, but eventually, I'll probably have a good cry over the whole situation. (I'm sure it will take me a long time, too.)