Monday, September 3, 2007


Many cancer patients envy healthy people -- people with normal lives and life expectancies. I don’t reach that high. I often envy other people's ailments. I walk by a cardiologist's office on my way to Chemo Club and wish I had a heart problem instead, or walk by a guy with a broken leg and think how nice it would be to have a simple broken leg.

There’s security in knowing there’s a solution to a problem, no matter how tricky or difficult the solution might be. Blocked arteries? Unblock them. Shattered leg bone? Get the surgeons to put it back together. Of course, there are probably some conditions that have lingering side effects – aches, delicate heart, and so on. But nothing like these microscopic killers that can linger in your body indefinitely and pop up months, years, even decades later.

There’s no solution, no cure for cancer yet. All this fighting is like beating back an enemy, knowing that even though you win battle after battle after battle, you can never turn around and go home to safety because you can still be ambushed on the way home or there could be another wave of enemies just over the next hill. You’ll just never know and never feel safe.

On the other hand, maybe humans can live off the success of one battle at a time. For the past several days, I haven’t felt any more of the stabbing pains in my chest or the dull ache in my right lung. I think this chemo’s working. And my doctor touched my collarbone and said it felt “less full” and she could feel a tiny lump there instead of a whole bloated fullness. That’s good. That’s one battle down.

There’s also security in knowing your enemy. I had all sorts of other minor side effects that the doctor told me were from the chemo. Once I learned where the pain was coming from, I felt much better. I think the pain even subsided, since we’d identified the source and I knew it wasn’t cancer growing, but the chemo working.

I’m fighting a series of battles in a much larger war, but this is just a metaphor for me. What about people who live in real war zones? I bet they’d envy me having something as simple as cancer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

shin.. you are always able to look at the positive side... i admire you for that.