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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-15 05:58
Subject: [cancer] Closing in on the last session, a note on my heart
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, cars, health, shellyrae
Slept uneasy last night. Don't know if it was a continued grumpy hangover or what. Day Jobbery shortly, then (hopefully) a quiet afternoon followed by an early evening's sleep. calendula_witch arrives tomorrow on her last drive up here. shelly_rae comes Thursday evening.

I've been thinking about two things: exercise and cussing.

I'm increasingly convinced that the reason I made it as far as I did through chemotherapy with any useful energy (such as it may be) is that I've exercised every damned day. I think I've missed perhaps two (non-pump) days in the last six months, plus when I'm on the pump it's different anyway. Every morning I spend at least thirty minutes getting my heart rate up and making my body move. I do it when I first wake up, because whatever energy I do have for the day is at its maxima then. Early in chemo I'd collapse around 4 or 5. These days, if I make it til noon in full-on mode, I'm lucky. But without the exercise, I might have wound up bed-ridden or nearly so. A thing that drives my heart.

Another thing that drives my heart is my commitment to kindness. For example, in social matters, one way I evaluate a person (friend, date, whatever) is whether they're nice to waitpeople. The "be kind to waiters" test tells you a lot about a person. Yesterday, my memory jogged as it occurred to me where I had first turned the inner corner on that. It was when I stopped cussing at other people while I drive. (Well, okay, it still happens on occasion, but far more rarely.) When I was younger, I'd scream my frustrations in the form of obscenities and nasty remarks at the people going too slow/too fast/where I wanted to in my way/cutting me off in the crosswalk/etc. I said a lot of things to rear windshields I'd never have dreamed, even then, of saying to people's faces. Anonymity is mightily empowering to rage, and not much is more anonymous than an automobile in traffic. What I finally realized was that I was programming myself to respond to incidents with anger instead of thoughtfulness, to drive (and behave) more dangerously, and ultimately, some really crappy behavior modeling for my daughter when she came along. None of that was worth the momentary warm glow of righteous indignation brought on by telling off some idiot who really deserved it. (Not to mention how wrong I probably was about other people most of the time.)

These days when someone blows by me in the crosswalk, breaking the law and endangering my life for the sake of a fraction of a minute's more progress down the road, I step out behind them with a big cheery smile and wave and shout "Thank you!" It's fairly passive aggressive of me, but it beats the hell out of just being aggressive, amuses me, and often amuses other drivers and pedestrians. More to the point, if they actually notice me, I'm not retroactively justifying their misdeeds by flipping them off or something. Maybe they'll even think about what just happened in some mode other than dismissive, defensive anger. I'm not quite so demonstrative behind the wheel, as frustration still leaks in and such broad communication is rarely possible (unless I have the top down), but I also try not to say or do anything I wouldn't say or do to the other driver face to face, in public.

Exercise is good for my heart. Kindness is good for my heart. Both help me focus on what's really important, including the battles that actually need fighting.

Post A Comment | 5 Comments | | Link

User: tillyjane
Date: 2010-06-15 14:31 (UTC)
Subject: your heart
your heart is the best. continue to take good care of it.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-06-15 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bravo, beautiful post.

Cat Holm
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They Didn't Ask Me: dr-phil-and-daddy-xmas09
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-06-15 15:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When we'd go on long road trips when I was a kid, there'd be some jerk tailgating us and then pass and cut us off. My father would wave, even after complaining about them. This tended to confuse the jerks -- gee, did I know that guy I just cut off. Often they'd slow down and drive normal for a while. Sometimes we'd pass them back.

Alas, I don't always remember that whilst driving. (grin)

Dr. Phil
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-06-15 17:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For some reason, we have developed the habit of saying 'Come along, Algernon/Claude/Nigel Albert' (quietly) to erratic drivers. It keeps us amused and defuses irritation, although sometimes we then end up debating if said driver *was* an Algernon or whichever, because they do differ.
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Max Kaehn: Evil
User: slothman
Date: 2010-06-15 17:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I say “thank you!” to people who blow past me at 20+MPH over the speed limit because I figure they’ll attract the attention of the highway patrol who might otherwise notice that I’m going 10MPH over the speed limit.
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