May 3rd, 2008


[cancer] Time goes by at the speed of life

One thing being sick (any kind of sick, not just cancer) does is steal time. Normally I always know the time to within five or ten minutes, even if I haven't been near a clock for hours. I can wake up when I want, go to sleep when I want, and am almost never late to anything.

This week I've lost track of what day it is, let alone the hours of my life.

Those of you who know me in real life know how frenetic I am. I live on fast forward, am always overflowing with projects and deadlines and commitments, am the king of personal process optimization and multitasking.

Not now.

And what I've realized is that until after the surgery and the recovery and the post-op assessments, I won't be that person. My fast forward has been put on pause. I live in freeze frame now.

As long as I'm here, I'm going to try my damndest to enjoy the view. I am a tourist in the foreign land of the slow and careful, so the sights are mine to behold. I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature, so I'm making it a feature.

But damn, I'm going to have a lot to do when this is over.

[links] Link salad Saturday crouton

Batman trailers — This is funny, a comparison of two different Batman movie trailers.

Recoiling black holes — Cool stuff on a galactic structure scale.

Where Are They?Technology Review on why the best answer in search for extraterrestrial life might be nothing.

A network graph of corporate America — Some very cool data visualization.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (sore insides, no vigorous exercise)
Last night's weigh-out: n/a
This morning's weigh-in: 268.4
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]


[cancer] Being patient in public with the big, magic cancer hat

I went out in public today for the first time as a Cancer Patient. I had emailed the_child's class list about this, specifically so other parents would know why if they heard questions from their own kids, or from her. Today was Mayfaire at the Portland Waldorf School, and lasirenadolce and I went to see the_child in the Mayfaire parade. (She wore her red panda mask which she'd recently made, over a green dress she and her mother had made.)

Various parents approached me differently. D—.'s dad (the donor of the salmon head) shook my hand and asked how I was doing in a very genuine way. Another parent who is a naturopathic physician offered sympathies, and to discuss chemo with me. Another parent gave me a big hug and talked about organizing the class community if the_child needed serious distracting.

But there were a few other folks who saw me and turned away. I don't imagine cruelty, not for a moment, but a lack of knowing what to say or how to approach me. I am being open about this, more so than is normal for a lot of people, and I suppose it makes some uncomfortable. I didn't say anything to lasirenadolce at the time, but maybe I should have.

I'm torn between acting very casual and putting this out front. When I asked one parent how she was doing, she said, "That's not the question, how are you doing?" Yet I'm still a polite human, and it's a genuine question from me. Being a Cancer Patient doesn't excuse me from interest in other people's health and well being.

It was all vaguely weird. Like I was wearing a big, magic cancer hat. (I've thought about asking someone to knit me a tumor hat — more about that later.) Everyone around me seemed so normal. And I know that in a crowd of several hundred there must have been a number of diabetics, people with Crohn's or cancers of their own. We were all just people watching kids dancing.

So I'm torn between being a patient, and being a person. The answer of course is that patients are people, always have been, always will be. I'm just usually on the outside of the big, magic hat.

Now that I'm inside the big, magic cancer hat, I'm making it mine.