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[cancer] More sex, and other mysteries - Lakeshore Page 2
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-12-23 18:32
Subject: [cancer] More sex, and other mysteries
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal, religion, sex
Just spoke to the chemo nurse. I have been advised that due to me being on 5-FU (Fluorouracil), condoms are absolutely required for any relevant sexual act during chemo and for three months afterward. The drugs involved are too disruptive to risk passing on to my sex partners via my ejaculate. Also due to my immunocompromised status, I cannot perform oral sex without a dental dam, as the consequences of me contracting a bacterial infection are severe. This is not surprising, but it does not please me.

In other news, thanks to a prompting from a friend of calendula_witch, I queried about EMLA, an anaesthetic cream that's applied to the skin above the chest port an hour or so prior to the needle being set. The nurse said, "Well, that's a good idea. It will cut down quite a bit on your incidental pain." Which made me wonder why they didn't prescribe it proactively. She also indicated that I can continue physical therapy while under chemo, with no particular cautions. So my shoulder will progress further.

In other news, I'm mulling a post on cancer, stress and my atheism. It seems to need to be discussed — even my clinic is advising me to support my spiritual side through my faith, which seems to considerably privilege religious belief. I'm not planning to make an issue of it there, not at all, just wanting to answer the implied question, which was explicitly voiced by an acquaintance who recently commented, "I just don't understand how you can do this without faith in God."

That definitely deserves a thoughtful response.

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seventorches: funny animal comic
User: seventorches
Date: 2009-12-24 13:44 (UTC)
Subject: "spirituality" =/= "religion".
Keyword:funny animal comic
In fact some of the most spiritual people I know are atheists, and you counted in that number. I'm not religious (having been raised Catholic). But, there is something in us that seeks, that wants rest, and that wants work. Not finding it in religion we seek elsewhere. This is spirituality. People can also seek and find within religion and this is also spirituality.

I think a lot of the bias toward "faith" has to do with the perception, which you yourself have echoed here, that atheism is a *lack*. A Not-Belief. My personal atheism, when it kicks in, which is more and more often as I approach middle age myself, is a very powerful *positive* belief. And it *is* a "belief". I don't have any proof that God doesn't exist. (Unlike, say, my belief in evolution or gravity. Pretty sure gravity is real.) I just have faith that He/She/It doesn't. And that can be extremely comforting. It's probably sort of hard to push back with "I do lean on my faith, it's atheism" but there you go.
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2009-12-24 19:19 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "spirituality" =/= "religion".
This often confuses me. I think there's a tendency among people who are invested enough in their religious and spiritual beliefs to be passionate about it to conflate any sort of passion with a bent toward spirituality. I was once told that, as an atheist, I could never be passionate about anything since my whole belief system was about "being made of dirt with nothing to look forward to."

Jay is certainly one of the most passionate-about-life people I know, and I can see how that confuses the spiritual into believing he's One Of Them.
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seventorches
User: seventorches
Date: 2009-12-24 20:48 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "spirituality" =/= "religion".
I think there's a tendency among people who are invested enough in their religious and spiritual beliefs to be passionate about it to conflate any sort of passion with a bent toward spirituality.

I see what you're saying. I don't think I'm that heavily invested in my mythic beliefs, although how would I know? Certainly I know plenty of people who are passionate (both in their lives generally and focussed on a given target, such as their work) who are not spiritual as I think of it. I also know atheists who are not spiritual. And I think we both know plenty of "religious" people who aren't. I based my statement on my personal acquaintance and private experience with Jay and on my personal understanding of what spirituality is (and isn't). That understanding is fluid and developing and I Could Be Wrong. Your point is taken, though, if I understand you correctly, that I could be experiencing Jay as spiritual when he's not because I'm viewing my experience of him through the lens of what I think spirituality "looks like" (well, "acts like", really) even if it isn't what I personally do. (Right?)

I was once told that, as an atheist, I could never be passionate about anything since my whole belief system was about "being made of dirt with nothing to look forward to."

Wow. Was this person actually, like, watching you? You seem pretty passionate to me and all I know about you is newsgroup postings. Maybe you're a Turing machine.
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sheelangig
User: sheelangig
Date: 2009-12-25 18:55 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "spirituality" =/= "religion".

I want a t-shirt that says, "One Of Them".
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alumiere
User: alumiere
Date: 2009-12-25 06:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm behind, so I think you've already posted your thoughtful response, but here's what I said

I too get similar comments and questions; I appreciate that you may chose to believe in God or gods or whatever belief system you practice. I, however, do not believe. My faith is in myself and my fellow humans; that science and logic, research and medicine will help me. I believe that the world is what we make of it, and that our time on earth is all we have.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-12-25 14:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you
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