?

Log in

No account? Create an account
[cancer] On despair - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-11-16 05:11
Subject: [cancer] On despair
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
After careful reflection, I have decided to share this email I sent to a friend and fellow cancer patient. This person's situation is much more dire than mine, though not terminal, and cancer has inflected their life far more than it has done to me. They wrote me, asking me how I keep going without giving up. Here, lightly edited for comprehension and their privacy, is my reply. Note this is not a desperate cry for help on either of our parts. Rather, this is me in my continuing effort to give insight into the mental and emotional terrain of cancer.

Yes, it's damned hard. I often have that urge to give up, especially late at night by myself when I'm lonely and mourning my lost primary relationship or really feeling beaten up over my writing career. There really aren't any happy thoughts that help me at that point. More than once I've seriously looked at my pill collection, which would be enough to kill a squad of Navy SEALs if parceled out the right/wrong way.

There's three or four things that keep me going even then.

First and foremost, my daughter. As bad as my death from cancer would be for her, my giving up and actively or passively suiciding would be much, much worse. I simply cannot do that to her, or to my parents.

Second, I do have an incurable desire to see what happens next. This is true even in the depths of despair.

Third, I'm a staunch atheist. This life is the only ride I get, and there's nothing to look forward to once the big sleep claims me. It's a no-excuses credo, a simple faith that is a great comfort to me in these trying times, to misquote Bujold. If I actually believed in a sweet hereafter, believe me, I would be mightily tempted by it.

And, well, I have friends and loved ones and family and fans and all kinds of people I'd be letting down.

Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, odds are it's not going to stop sucking, even with my current good scan news. Yeah, odds are quite good this will carry me to an early grave. But even in the depths of despair, I can't convince myself things are so bad it's worth hurrying toward that end.

I don't know if this helps, but it's how I feel. I don't have much to offer from a distance but, well, here we are.

Jay, who is also deeply enraged


Post A Comment | 7 Comments | | Link






Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-11-16 14:45 (UTC)
Subject: Overdosing
I've done this, twice.
It's vile.
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-11-16 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Overdosing
I am glad you did not succeed.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-11-16 15:26 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Overdosing
Thank you.
It worried the hell out of the marquis, too. I still understand why I did it, but... I seriously don't recommend it.
And, y'know, you are amazing. Hug.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



User: mmegaera
Date: 2011-11-17 00:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We will all do our best to keep what happens next fascinating enough. For all of us, including you.

You and Ezar Vorbarra. Now that's a juxtaposition I hadn't thought of.
Reply | Thread | Link



User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2011-11-17 08:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Those three of four things are pretty much the same for me. I have spent several nights in the last couple of months thinking that I am beginning the process of dying - I'm still not dead, I'm heavily jaundiced and still doing things and lining up options for when that situation improves to keep me alive, but on those nights of dark dark thinking I have considered that at times my life is unbearably miserable.

I'm amazed that your writing continued as long as it did while going through the poisons of chemo. I was finally on the cusp of breaking out of small/indie press, had a couple of good commissions to do so, and am worried I will not live to see these through, or even write them.

Such is life.

Be strong, stay strong.
Reply | Thread | Link



Paul Haines
User: paulhaines
Date: 2011-11-17 08:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
that last one was me - Paul Haines - I forgot to login on my wife's pc.
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-11-17 13:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's such a damned bitch.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



browse
my journal
links
January 2014
2012 appearances