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[cancer] The mental fight - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-08-11 05:39
Subject: [cancer] The mental fight
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal

Physiologically speaking, I’m actually feeling pretty good these days (taking everything in context). It won’t last because chemo restarts two weeks from tomorrow, but I’ll take what I can get.

However, while this is a respite from the physical horrors and stress of chemotherapy and surgery, it’s allowing me more time for my anxieties and emotional stresses to manifest. As my therapist has commented, I have an amazing degree of equilibrium and positivity, given all that I’ve been through in the past few years. Still, the fears of cancer gnaw at me and sometimes the gnawing grows too loud for me to ignore.

At the moment my worrying mind is back on the question of when, if ever, I’ll have the social and emotional energy to build another strong central relationship in my life. This isn’t me catastrophizing or running to the negative. There’s essentially an even chance I’l never be healthy again, I’ll just go from sick to sicker until I die of this fucking cancer.

At the same time, I’m doing everything in my power (and in the power of my oncologists) to direct my health toward a better outcome. It does me no good, in either a micro sense or a macro sense, to dwell on what I have already lost or might yet lose in this life.

So the mental fight isn’t to banish inner demons or turn away from negative illusions. (I’ve had those fights at times in my past.) It’s to stare the reality of my life in the face and carry on with strength, love and positivity regardless.

Cancer changes one. Profoundly. One of the biggest changes for me has been my sense of a lost future. I will probably spend the rest of my life living in the eternal now, whether that’s two more years or forty-two more years.

There are worse fates, and I’ve learned a lot, but the tuition has been too damned high.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2011-08-11 14:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*hugs* My best friend is a thyroid cancer survivor when she was in college (Remember Love Canal, New York? She lived there as a child for a little bit.) and has only recently started making long term plans. For other reasons she has never had a strong central relationship (she very territorial and enjoys living alone with her rabbits and cats) in her life.
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mlerules: poly
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-08-11 15:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:poly
May you find someone compatible with whom to share the eternal now when you're ready and able. I've found that I tend to stumble upon who/what I need when I need it, often when I've stopped trying so hard to get it but just get on w/life and see who falls outta the woodwork. Your f-ship network is big enough that new people will wander into your life fairly often...and if not, then once you're feeling stronger/better, we (yr friends & yrself) can work to make it so to increase the likelihood of meeting the next Ms Right. (Gonna leave aside any jokes 'bout Ms Right Now ;-)
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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2011-08-11 16:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
All of what you say is true, Jay. And there is virtue in facing the reality of your situation.

That being said, I suspect that you, gregarious extrovert that you are (not redundant; I am a gregarious introvert), have a better shot at meeting someone than a lot of people, just because you meet so many people.

The truth is that there are no guarantees for anyone that they'll meet a compatible partner. But it's a big world, full of a great range of people. It's entirely possible that you'll meet your next partner, and she'll be the right partner, *because* of the cancer, not despite it.

Cancer has changed you, and it has likely changed what you need and look for. For all you know, you'll run into the right person -- who might not have been the right person had your life not taken the cancerous turn -- tomorrow. Or have already met her.

Hugs. May this dark turn of mind not last.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-08-11 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't have much that's useful to say, other than that you have my very best wishes.
Kari
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That Which Fights Entropy: nowhere
User: amberite
Date: 2011-08-12 11:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:nowhere
It’s to stare the reality of my life in the face and carry on with strength, love and positivity regardless.

This particular thought has been coming at me from all sides lately - to the point of being startlingly synchronicitous.
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Jay Lake: signs-next_services
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-08-12 12:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:signs-next_services
I'm generally of the opinion that the universe has a number of messages for us, which we only see when we are ready. (And I say this as a staunchy avowed empricist and atheist.)
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2011-08-14 13:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My mother has, through the weird vagaries of life, become caretaker to a mid-stage Alzheimer's patient. After spending a day with them at his condominium-- and it's a very nice condominium, and he's perfectly competent to live there, as long as he has someone to plan his life and be there, as he has only a three-minute-long memory, with no capability at all to remember anything prior, or plan anything hence-- believe me when I say "living in the now" is not all its cracked up to be. You haven't lost the ability to put words to paper, or contemplate tomorrow.

That old joke about how cardiologists exercise like mad because they know the consequences of a heart attack, but oncologists party and drink because they know the consequences of cancer and would rather have a heart attack, makes me think neurologists must wake up screaming in the middle of the night, knowing there's not much they can do either way.
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