Surviving on the Planet

I didn’t “win” my “battle” against cancer. I’m not dead, and I am (so far and as far as I know) cancer free, but saying I won makes me feel as if I was stronger than others or made better choices. I did what most everyone else did (everyone who has health insurance anyway)–showed up for treatments. And then went about my life hoping cancer wasn’t going to kill me. I was diagnosed early enough, which has a lot more to do with having health insurance and access to medical care than my attitude or my toughness.

You can do everything right (whatever that means), and still be unlucky. Sure, you can make decisions that improve your odds. I’m not a throw-up-your-hands-and-do-nothing sort of person. Chadwick Boseman did everything he could. Plenty of vibrant, deserving people do. But cancer is a bastard. It does not play fair. It sets its own rules and we don’t know what they are.

I especially dislike being told God saved me. Aside from the fact that I’m not a believer, I dislike the idea that God is choosing to save some and not others. It feels capricious and cruel.

At the same time, cancer is hard, and whatever helps you deal with its vagaries is fine. Talk of battles and God don’t work for me. I’m not you, so you have to go through the experience in your own way.

Some friends said I was a badass for “beating” cancer. Honestly, I just feel like someone blinking in the sunlight surprised to still be standing, wondering why so many others are not.

My heart goes out to everyone experiencing loss. It’s unfair and I have no wise words for it. And you’re in my thoughts as we face another day.

Glad to be here. Thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “Surviving on the Planet

  1. I’m so with you on this one, especially re God’s choosing & not others. I, too, am “blinking in the sunlight,” the worry always in the back of my mind that it’ll come back. Even after nearly 5 years.

  2. This is a wonderful post, you. In fact, I was gonna share it on FB but I didn’t want to come across like I was celebrating you for doing what comes naturally to you… but didn’t want to make you feel — gods forbid — exceptional! (Heh.)

    Every day, pretty much everybody shoulders burdens of sh!t that people around them would be unable to shoulder — or broken by shouldering — if they had to do so for more than a couple hours. “Being brave” is just another thing people do, just like being stupid. One of the most insidious things about the pandemic is that the disease’s symptoms seem superficially so mundane, not requiring “bravery” to face; if it made sufferers’ faces melt, or made them sprout long reptilian tails overnight, there’s NO WAY anyone but the certifiably crazy would object to mask-wearing, social distancing, etc. It’s not “just a bad cold,” and it’s not “just the flu,” but once it takes root it seems to mimic those conditions. But by then it’s too late, for way too many victims. At that point, I think the realization belatedly settles in: it’s not time for bravery; it’s time to be afraid.

    Sigh. What a world!

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