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[cancer|dreams] A reader questionnaire, of sorts - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-12-08 07:07
Subject: [cancer|dreams] A reader questionnaire, of sorts
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, dreams, health, outer mongolia, personal, polls, travel
Last night I dreamt I was involved in the lengthy process of filming a BBC documentary (or possibly mockumentary) about searching for lost Norman treasure in an old English country village. Somehow this eventually transmogrified into me sitting in the driver's seat of a parked SUV with diplomatic plates in downtown Almaty, Kazakhstan talking to a friend from work (an actual person from Day Jobbery rather than one of those skeevy dream people, :: waves to Dan U. ::), explaining why the Bloggess was so much more popular a blogger than I. And, no, the discussion in-dream doesn't make sense now. Plus bacon and eggs. Lots of dreaming of bacon and eggs.

Sadly, no bacon and eggs this morning.

Also, it should be pointed out I've never been to Almaty. I have, however, been to Ulaan Baator, so my backbrain does have a readymade set for 'Central Asian cityscape' available.

I did wonder after I woke up if I should consider splitting my blog into personal/political/cultural/writing stuff (essentially what it was pre-cancer) on one fork, and purely cancer blogging on the other fork. It didn't take me long to realize that (a) this would be a lot of work I don't really want to do, especially given the relatively dubious benefits of performing that work; and (b) it would be somewhat dishonest in that I don't see myself as divided that way, and a lot of what I think about life and politics and writing and my personal stuff is heavily inflected by cancer, as well as vice viscera. So, yeah, we're not going there unless someone can present me with a truly compelling argument in favor. I mean, that's why I have tagging and [title brackets] right?

That, however, led me to wonder a bit more about readership here. I am curious as to a few questions, and I'm not going to put this in a poll specifically to enable both verbose and anonymous answers in comments.

So here's a reader questionnaire, and since turnabout's fair play as well, consider this an ask-me-anything thread with a non-mandatory focus on the topic of cancer and serious illness.

1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?

5) What helps you most here?

6) What hurts you most here?

I know even some of my frequent fliers in comments are very private about their health, so please feel free to leave your responses and/or questions for me anonymously. This is contra my usual mild preference for signed comments, but very appropriate to the topic.

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jtdiii: Bio
User: jtdiii
Date: 2012-12-08 15:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bio
1. Read it all, pass along tidbits to concerned family, who also pop in to read it occasionally

2. No

3.Type II Diabetes, a bit of neuropathy, balance issues and my own occasional functional issues

4. Yes

Mostly I just keep abreast of things as alas there is little I can do from the other side of the continent.

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Jay Lake: writing-Kalimpura
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-12-10 00:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:writing-Kalimpura
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the work, as well.
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rekre8
User: rekre8
Date: 2012-12-08 15:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
First off, I'll take the hit for you and have bacon & eggs this morning.

1. I read your all your posts, as I'm not seeing a lot of you threse days, so it's the means i have for keeping up with what you are up to. Alas, you are up to cancer, but I'n not squemish about the conversation about your GI.

2. No
3. No
4. Several, including you

5. Helps: your honesty, and your humor on the days you feel witty about it.

6. Hurts: that you have to go through it at all
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2012-12-08 15:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Often but not always (~2/3 of the time, if only cursorily on occasion)

2) Not yet.

3) I have previously been (mis-?) diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, which is at least a couple of orders of magnitudes less dire and directly onerous than what you're going through (not to make light of depression, especially for those folks who got whacked hard with that particular stick, but I have a much more mild row to how than they, or you, do)

4) Dad had a spot of cancer several years ago and, fortunately, they got it before it metastasized; he's got a few other aches and pains from what being a former athlete now into his mid-late 70's will engender, and mom took a fall a couple of years ago and busted up her shoulder pretty good; they're both still more or less functional, if slowing down... but their extended presence and my probable participation in caregiving is a substantial influence on the fact that an extra bedroom and bathroom are currently being grafted onto the ass-end of my house.

5) The poop jokes. (Link salad seems outside the purview of this question. :-) )

6) Not a huge fan of staring mortality in the face, even if it's over the shoulder of someone I only know slightly, online.

You're doing a tough thing, and it's hard to watch, because we know that Death isn't going to blink first, for any of us.
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Tom
User: voidampersand
Date: 2012-12-08 15:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?

Yes. Most of all, I know you, and I want you to pull through.

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?

No. Not yet.

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?

No. But I've been through stuff where without modern medicine I'd be dead by now. And I have lots of heartwarming talks with my dad where he clues me in on what health issues I get to look forward to. So far he's been right on the money.

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?

I lost one grandparent to cancer. I have a family member who survived two occurrences of cancer and was not able to get health insurance for a decade. Things are better, but every day they're alive is a gift. And another family member died of an easily preventable heart attack while uninsured. Health insurance is not an abstract issue for me. It's personal.

5) What helps you most here?

Whatever works for you. It's not about me.

6) What hurts you most here?

Nothing, really.
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kudilu: danandme
User: kudilu
Date: 2012-12-08 16:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:danandme
Obviously a dream - Steve McQueen always drives.
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kudilu
User: kudilu
Date: 2012-12-08 16:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
also, for the survey -
1) yes, i read them - they're usually interesting and informative, and also i generally read everything that shows up on my friend feed.
2) no
3) no
4) no, not really. DU's mom sometimes has issues, but it's mostly all 'old broke lady' issues, with some diabetes thrown in. An awful lot of people on my mom's side have had cancer, though. They're all in the Alabama area, though, so i don't see them much and when i did i was too young to really know what was going on.
5) it's not about me.
6) nothing i can think of.
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Karen
User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-12-08 16:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1. Yes. Because they're interesting, in a train wreck kind of way. Because they mirror what I'm going through right now.

2. No.

3. No, but my husband does. :-)

4. Yes.

5. Seeing how you deal with things.

6. Nothing.
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russ
User: goulo
Date: 2012-12-08 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?
Yes. I'm interested in what's going on with you, plus they are informative and thought-provoking in their own right, even if you were a total stranger.

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?
No.

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?
No.

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?
I suppose like many/most of us, I have been. But not currently.
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2012-12-08 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Yes. Mostly because they're interesting reading, but secondarily because friends and family have had cancer and your posts help me to understand their journeys better.

2) Nope.

3) Nope.

4) Yep.

5) Your honesty on the topic.

6) Nothing beyond what pain empathy for your suffering and the suffering of other friends with cancer/health horribleness brings me.
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joycemocha
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-12-08 17:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1.) Yes. I've had family and friends die of cancer and they've not gone through chemo or radiation, so this is an eye-opener for me. Plus the odds are good, given my family history and exposures, that I might just have to deal with these issues myself someday...or with husband or son.

2.) No. Not yet (hopefully never, but you know, the odds).

3.) Periodically.

4.) Yes.

5 & 6: Even when it hurts, it helps.
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They Didn't Ask Me
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2012-12-08 17:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I read it all from writing to promoting to food to cancer to link salad to photos of abandoned things and joyous pictures of The Child. I admire your ability to forge on in your blog despite everything and value your honesty. It's not TMI to take the wraps off cancer and expose what it does to you.

Last year my sister died quite unexpectedly at age 55 minus one week. The autopsy showed she was riddled with metastatic cervical/uterine cancers -- she had no idea. Yes, she was sick, but she had no health insurance and when she did go to the clinic, they thought her breathing problems were related to her childhood asthma. Finest health care system in the world and Death Panels my ass.

Two years ago I compressed a nerve in my left leg. I am supposedly growing a new nerve, but nerves grow at the rate fingernails do, so it'll be a couple of years. Meanwhile I have trouble walking and stairs are a steep challenge. Your posts put some perspective to my situation and for that I am grateful.

As long as you have the energy to ramble here, I will read.

Dr. Phil
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Jim C. Hines
User: jimhines
Date: 2012-12-08 17:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1. Yes. Both for educational reasons, and because I want to know what's going on in the life of someone I care about.

2. No.

3. Not really.

4. My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor.

5. The honesty about what cancer is truly like, as opposed to the sanitized Hollywood version.

6. General feelings of helplessness.
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Magenta
User: magentamn
Date: 2012-12-08 17:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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Magenta
User: magentamn
Date: 2012-12-08 17:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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Peter
User: kilks401
Date: 2012-12-08 17:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Yes, to learn and to see how you are doing. (don't know you, but I enjoy your writing, both fiction and blogging.)

2) No

3) No

4) I live with my grandmother who has been treated for breast cancer, but thankfully she is doing pretty well now.

5) Learning the emotional toll of cancer.

6) The feeling of helplessness and randomness of cancer.
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When life gives you lemmings...: Faces: Satyrday
User: danjite
Date: 2012-12-08 17:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Faces: Satyrday
I read every cancer post as you are eloquent, interesting, and ruthlessly, relentlessly, recklessly, personally public in exposing the dark, festering corners of something usually left hidden.

Though I have had carcinoma removed from my face a couple of times, I generally don't identify myself with cancer- but I do wear sunblock every single day of the year, now.

I have no serious illnesses and you are the only person close to me that I know (for sure) does. I do have serious empathy, however, and your cancer writing helps me understand that wretched path.

As for what helps me most here and what hurts me most here in terms of cancer writing, it is reading every word of that brutal eloquence mentioned above and knowing it is your real, minute-to-minute life, amigo.

Not missing a word of it, and I think it the richest public service you can deliver.

Edited at 2012-12-08 05:56 pm (UTC)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-12-10 00:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did not know of your daughter's fate. I'm very sorry to hear that. In a sense, I'm watching my parents go through a version of that now, from the other side.

It does seem strange, even stranger than mine, which is essentially (if unfortunately) random.
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Deborah J. Ross: hands
User: deborahjross
Date: 2012-12-08 19:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:hands
I read almost all the posts. I admire your courage in being willing to share the trek through darkness. As it happens, my best friend is in the long decline of palliative chemo. I've lost 2 friends in the last month or so, one to cancer, the other to a freak accident.

I know a thing or two about walking through darkness, being a surviving family member of a murder victim. I've talked with a lot of folks who have lost loved ones to violence, whether the perpetrator is known or not, still alive or not. And also to families of people who've been executed.

This I know: pain can make us crazy. It can be so overwhelming, we can't see a way out or through. We don't need to. We need only to be present with each moment. If one day at a time is too much, we can take it one hour at a time.

Some days, I needed to take it one breath at a time. If I couldn't do anything else, I could take that next breath.

I also know this: I don't have to be afraid of pain. Not mine, not yours. I believe we as human beings have an immense capacity to do the deep emotional and spiritual work of surviving each day. We do it better when we are not alone.

All I have to do is to listen as deeply and compassionately as I can. I can't fix anything for you. I don't know what's best for you, although I suspect that you will recognize it when you hear it from your own mouth or see it unfold on the page before you.
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chris_gerrib
User: chris_gerrib
Date: 2012-12-08 19:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Yes - general interest

2) No

3) No

4) No

5) & 6) Not sure I accept the premise. I don't read your site to be helped or hurt (although some of the writing stuff is helpful). I read because I'm interested in what you have to say.
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Bob
User: yourbob
Date: 2012-12-08 19:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I tend not to read all your posts period. I dip in here and there, skipping much.

I care a lot about you, but you can be verbose. I don't have time for all the esoterica, and don't even care about some of that level of information from my mom. However I realize and understand the need for you to spill your guts, and know it is probably doing some good for some people. Perhaps a lot.</p>

And it's your own damn blog. You do what you want and what you need to do, and to hell with anyone else.

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Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2012-12-08 19:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?

Yes, because I am addicted to honest writing about experience of all kinds.

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?

No. I had a rather silly breast cancer scare a few months ago, but it was nothing.

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?

No.


4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?

Yes. My brother has (diagnosed as terminal) colon cancer. We live 800 miles apart and he is not a big sharer of details, so your writing feeds me in a very particular way.

5) What helps you most here?

The details, the gross details, and the commitment to telling the whole truth. A couple of weeks ago, you said something along the order of "I don't want to talk about this, so by my rules for this journal, that means I should" which encapsulates what I admire about your writing on this topic.

6) What hurts you most here?

Not being able to help you in any way.

I don't have any questions now, but I appreciate how you have answered my questions when I do have them.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-12-10 00:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I've said this before, but good luck and good health to your brother, whatever that means to him now.
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2012-12-08 19:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Yes, because of 3 and 4.

2) No, just a scare so far.

3) Yes. I could very possibly need a liver transplant someday.

4) Yes.

5) Knowing that life goes on in between the awfulness.

6) Realizing what you and other friends and family are suffering, and being unable to help.
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Kerry aka Trouble: Red Hat
User: controuble
Date: 2012-12-08 20:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Red Hat
1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?
Yes, I read all your posts - even most of the TMI-cut ones unless I'm running late and forget to go back to it. Why? Because nobody else I know talks at all about it.

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?
Neither.

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?
No.

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?
Not yet, but my mom and her husband are both getting on in years.

5) What helps you most here?
I'm not sure help is the right word. I want to be prepared if anything similar happens to mom or anyone else I'm close to.

6) What hurts you most here?
Knowing how much you're hurting and not being able to even give moral support with a hug, much less be of help.
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Sheila
User: cat_collector
Date: 2012-12-08 20:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. Because:

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?
Yes, a double survivor.

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?
I have chronic kidney disease which is currently under control; but there's always the possibility of it becoming much worse. It helps to know how to fight back against a universe that wants to kill you.

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?
Not now, but I've lost three family members to cancer.

5) What helps you most here?
Your honesty in what it's like to be going through cancer treatments. Movies and TV paint such a rosy, romantic version it's refreshing to hear someone talk about what it's really like.

6) What hurts you most here?
The reality of what you're going through. Cancer sucks and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
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