Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hoping and Coping

As I go through medical stuff again, there is no avoiding reflecting on how you get through the day when the question marks are big. At the Livestrong headquarters there is a poster that if you don’t have a social network already, get one. By the grace of the universe, I had one already and it’s a net that is still solid while shifting. It’s interesting that I still have some very private friends who reprimand me for being this public about it saying they would keep that part of their life, still holding onto the stigma that some people with cancer feel they have received.

I for the first time ever sat and read through this blog which was at best awkward and uncomfortable but it sure gave some perspective. One think that was fairly obvious was that I made a lot more jokes before my ex left than after. I miss the laughing about this all and even my neuropsychological points out that making fun of things is clearly how I deal with some of this. As coping mechanisms go, I’ll definitely take humor over some other ones that get you through the day. Luckily, there are still those who remember it and their jokes help keep me going. I met a guy with testicular cancer who wore two Livestrong Bracelets who joked with me that he wore two because he hated cancer twice as much because he didn’t have as much balls as he used to. A coworker who had a heart attack came back and told me that we needed to throw a Wizard of Oz party (who wants to be the wizard of oz and who wants to be Dorothy). Cancer and health issues can be overwhelming but sometimes like political cartoons and satirical essays, it’s good to laugh at those things that appear to have power over us.

Another person going through this withdrew from friends and family and his family asked me to sit and talk with them. I’ve been asked to talk to a few people going through cancer and other health issues and I never really know what to say other than make sure you’re focused on the right things and live intentionally. It’s amusing to be me because I’ve been both reprimanded for talking too much about this (facebook status, this blog) and for ignoring it (going out to eat with friends before/after going to medical appointments, going salsa dancing the night before). MLK said that we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope. Last year they updated the astrological signs and mine changed from Leo to cancer. I didn’t accept that then nor will I know and while cancer may not be funny laughter is the best medicine. I hope I’m always engaged and ignoring it simultaneously.

In my over planning approach, I’ve sat here and read about what radiation does to the brain both good and bad and rare side effects but also when I do that googling cancer jokes (ie So in case you’ve ever wondered how many cancer patients it takes to screw in a light bulb? Just one but it takes a support group to cheer him on and a lot of grieving after). I don’t know if we’ll be doing radiation or just monitoring forever but either way there better be some good jokes… so my brain doesn’t go into nuclear meltdown.

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