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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-06-30 04:49
Subject: [cancer] No one expects the Spanish Inquisition
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, california, cancer, personal, travel
Flew into San Francisco last night. Plane was only a little late, and the airport van was completely full, so it took a while to get home to calendula_witch. Whereupon I discovered her in the Witchnest with the building alarm shrieking and the power out. Some fiddling with the alarm panel took care of the shriek, but the power was a couple of hours coming back. This crimped our evening routine, but we successfully improvised.

This morning I have the oncologist appointment here at UCSF for the second opinion on this year's New Adventures in Cancer. Though I've been looking forward to this, I find myself tinged with dread today.

A lot of new words have entered my life in the last fourteen months. I didn't used to be able to pronounce "metastasis", and "tumor" wasn't something that came up in conversation very often. Likewise "resectioning" and "chemotherapy" and "oncologist." Hush words. Scare words. The kind of words that if you're talking in the elevator or on the telephone in the departure lounge, people around you fall quiet and strain to listen while pretending to unobtrusiveness. The experience of cancer has inflected everything from my travel schedule to my vocabulary. I don't suppose I ever understood the miracle of my good health until it was undermined by the enemy within.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the unexpected nature of all this. Cancer is like the Spanish Inquisition in my life. Prior to April, 2008, if you'd asked me to list my likely causes of death, I'd have put heart attack first, followed by a more generic listing of cardiovascular disease, followed by a none too imaginative set of possibilities ranging from falling in the shower to airplane crash to death by jealous lover.

But cancer? No one in my family dies of cancer. Not that I'm dying now. But no one in my family gets cancer. We're a heart attack family, pure and simple, on both sides. As a doctor of mine said years ago, we don't live long enough to get cancer.

So the rearrangement and derangement of my life continues. I'm coping pretty well with the current uncertainty, and rather afraid of finding a bad certainty this morning. Or in last week's MRI, whenever the read comes in. Or the upcoming CT scans.

The only thing worse than a bad certainty would be continued uncertainty. I'm tired of the unexpected, at least in this regard.

Life is for living with all the knobs set on full tilt boogie. I'm doing my best, damn it.

Originally published at jlake.com.

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User: lotusice
Date: 2009-06-30 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a godawful miserable roller coaster with words and concepts too big to fit into a reasonable box of 'cope' on any given day, but you do, and that's amazing.

It sucks to feel so at the mercy of insane ifs.

Recently I got in the habit of respecting the scare words less. "Mass" and "radiation." Saying them loudly and cheerfully out loud, until my friends stopped being scared to repeat them back and now they make cancer jokes, which is a WAY improvement to the hushed silence.

Keep boogieing.
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Lawrence M. Schoen
User: klingonguy
Date: 2009-06-30 15:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I find myself in agreement with lotusice.

I think you should get a banjo and begin writing upbeat songs, of the sing-along variety -- hey, kids, what rhymes with "oncology?" that's right, "morphology"

Put all of your physicians into the songs. Make them heroes and fools. No, scratch that, make the cancer look foolish. Mock it. Shame it. Humiliate the fucker until it shrivels up and leaves your body and your mind.
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User: lauriemann
Date: 2009-06-30 13:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hope all goes well today.

I'm still aiming at dying of a stroke in my 70s. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it! ;->

Both of Jim's parents died of cancer, but both were smokers. The non-smokers/quit-smokers in his family are still holding out. And he's very good about going to the doctor, even without my nagging him about it.

My parents are both still alive, though my mother is very frail. My father is doing well - keeping active makes a huge difference.
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User: ozarque
Date: 2009-06-30 13:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Best wishes for a good outcome today...
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scarlettina: Cancer
User: scarlettina
Date: 2009-06-30 13:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're in my thoughts this morning. I'll be watching for news.
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User: yourbob
Date: 2009-06-30 15:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm with Klingonguy.

Do the convention filk rounds with a stream of cancer songs. Then take it on the road to wards across the nation. Make sure some are suitable for kids (or you can just replace "fuck cancer" with "fight cancer").

Write a good and hilarious story out of it, and use that as your reading piece for conventions. Sell it to Audible.

Use the sucker.
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User: spencimusprime
Date: 2009-06-30 19:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Life is for living with all the knobs set on full tilt boogie. I'm doing my best, damn it."

I really admire this about you. Keep on going, man.
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