My Cancer Philosophy

Cancer doesn’t mean I’m broken or did anything to deserve it. It means nothing to me, actually.

And Karmic retribution isn’t something a person “deserves.”’I believe Karma represents an unclear conscience of one who’s so busy looking over their shoulder at what’s behind them, they therefore trip over what’s right in front of them. Karma doesn’t discern between either bad – falling flat on one’s face – or good – missing out on all the love and beauty that’s available in this world.

I know cancer will eventually kill me. But it won’t have made me a better or stronger person. Having a diagnosis of a terminal illness actually forced me to see the person who I always was. It’s through shear force of my own will that I gather together the very best of the essence of myself. And with that will for as long as I’m alive I’ll heal myself as best I can but not beat myself down when I cannot. Gratitude comes then through my healing in that I can help others.

Writing my experiences as plainly and as real as possible allows others to see my cobbled path and how I navigate the bumpy road ahead. In seeing what I could not see until I’ve passed those tests doesn’t mean that they’re cheating on their own but rather can provide a guide for making their road a bit smoother so they trip less often than I have. Why let anyone’s life be more difficult if it’s as simple as that. If my story is valuable enough to be shared in by others then I have an obligation to tell it as well as I can for as long as I can.

My strength wanes and waxes as my cancer does as well. If you’ve heard this quote as relating to metastatic cancer, there’s nothing said in my opinion that’s more accurate: “living with uncertainty.” Uncertainty paints a picture of my life before cancer. It’s not any different now, so my strength from my experience in dealing with change and not knowing what the future looks like, well equips me to handle this disease.

It’s called resilience.

When the gift of each new day comes in shining through my window I am grateful for the time I can pet my cat. Or hug my best friend. Or even mop the kitchen floor. I can sing while I mop. I can hear my cat purring. I can feel the love of my partner returned to me each time we embrace. And some days that’s maybe all that I can find to seek happiness within – but that’s a lot.

In fact it’s more than I can ask for because it means I have a roof over my head, clean water to mop the house with, enough money to have a loving cat as a constant companion, and love in my life that goes beyond just the requisite. I’m fortunate and richly rewarded by life in so many ways that description of these gifts seems lackluster upon review. Yet even for me, a chatterbox since birth, realizes that some things are so much bigger than me they evade my ability to describe them.

It’s true that certain famous (and not so well known) quotes by others can describe feelings and ideas far better than I. Yet certain universal ideas find their way into everyone’s mind sooner or later. Yet these ideas are informed by experience and influenced by authorities we respect, such as religion or poetry or science. Usually it’s a combination of things that create our personal philosophies.

For instance, a white supremacist believes they’re right to impose their thinking on people not like themselves. They impose their deeply held beliefs that certain religions, races, and ideologies should not be proliferated but stopped by their own hand. I won’t even kill a spider in my house. She has a right to be here as I do. And I’m not saying that if the white supremacist were in my house I wouldn’t put him out like the spider.

Here’s the three philosophical statements that describe where I’m at today. Yet my emotions change, sometimes on a daily basis, yet it’s stormy as it may have been in the past but a more gentle breeze that changes my weather. Cancer has this effect on me:
1. Forgive, and if I cannot forgive, forget.
2. Love is all that matters – in all life and the universe.
3. Death is the natural path of all life; I face my own death with curiosity and grace.

And just as that equalizing common denominator of life is death, the most curoius thing about it is not one of us truly knows what mystery lies beyond this reality or how many realities there are. We tend as a culture in the United States anyway, to dismiss alternate realities as we tend to dismiss death. We don’t discuss it much. People do love to talk though. Hearing someone say that cancer is some kind of Karma is not only ignorabt but dissmissive of alternate ways of being. By doing so we miss learning lessons about living life with grace in the face of our own deaths. Especially those with a stage four cancer diagnosis. It never leaves our bodies and turns our bodies into a machine with an invisible timer set for detonation at an unknown future time. Kind of like not having a stage four cancer disgnosis at least, well…philosophically.

And I know if you’re reading this post you probably will agree that no one deserves cancer. Not me not anyone and not anymore.

Sharing my experiences with metastatic breast cancer …

This passage by Emily Dickinson sums up beautifully why I strive to honestly share my cancer experience and caregiving of one husband with depression, as well as others who I love and come into my life to give and receive support. I hope you find something in her words that pertains to your life. Giving back rewards us with humanity and humility – making the world a little less lonely for giver and reciever. I thank you for sharing my life’s rollercoaster ride. Keep your seatbelts on!

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life from aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin unto its nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
– Emily Dickinson

Look into My Crystal Ball, or The Writer as Telepath

The blank page: at times a writer’s inanimate nemesis. The written output, the writer’s words lend themselves to an infinite life with inasmuch potential. This simple premise suggests a complex hypothesis: a writer’s output can bridge the gap between art and science, alchemy and physics, space and time. The writer becomes a telepath sending messages into the future for a reader to interpret. Somewhat like a clairvoyant or perhaps the act exists in the realm of remote seeing, where one person would send a thought or image across time and space or pick up images from maps or clues designed to lead the seer to a specific area for finding, for instance, another country’s nuclear weapon silo.

Interesting to consider these assumptions imbue alternative meanings to the act of reading. You immediately see the past and derive a picture of the past, or the future in science fiction or fiction generally by interpreting words laid out as clues by the writer.

Extending the conceit of my satirical discourse, astrophysicists might look for wormholes between the covers of a book rather than through the lens of mathematics. A writer collapses the past and future at the every moment in the continuum of time when another person reads their words. Without control over who reads and when they read, the writer interprets and translates physical or imagined information to convey meaning. Recall for a moment any biography you’ve read of a living or once living person. Is it factual or to a degree is it fictionalized through the writer’s mind to the page, still applicable in autobiographies?

Might I suggest that both reader and writer together create a closed circuit to bend the time space continuum. Reading uses clairvoyance and writing, telepathy, to communicate. Both acts indelibly change the past and the future. As the reader becomes a telepath who interprets the messages being sent from another time and place and create meaning that may have an impact on themselves or in some instances one or an infinite many others. I write messages for future others to receive. How far in the future will determine the degree to which my words are interpreted based on several key factors.

First, cultural distance between me and the reader or receiver. I’d bet if you’re reading this now, you’re not too far in time away from me and your physical space is not too different from mine. If you’re a Martian colonist reading this 100 years from relative “now”, I’m no longer alive and my meaning must be left to the receiver to recreate any meaning from my words.

That person can change the past by interpreting my meaning, my words, and something about me that may or may not be true. So I can change history (now) and change the future (tomorrow) by writing something evocative and capturing enough mindshare to get you to think about something.

Just a thought that provoked some lively conversation this Sunday night. Time to give my iPad a rest, wish my husband love and pleasant dreams, give my cat Simon a good petting, and ready myself for another week. A week when I hope to fend off the busyness that would have my attention rather than using my powers of mental telepathy and sending my remote viewers something to chew on from here in the past.