"What are my chances? It was a question I would repeat over and over. But it was irrelevant, wasn't it? It didn't matter, because the medical odds don't take into account the unfathomable. There is no proper way to estimate somebody's chances, and we shouldn't try, because we can never be entirely right, and it deprives people of hope. Hope that is the only antidote to fear.
Those questions, Why me? What are my chances? were unknowable, and I would even come to feel that they were too self-absorbed. For most of my life I had operated under a simple schematic of winning and losing, but cancer was teaching me a tolerance for ambiguities. I was coming to understand that the disease doesn't discriminate or listen to the odds - it will decimate a strong person with a wonderful attitude, while it somehow spares the weaker person who is resigned to failure. I had always assumed if I won bike races, it made me a stronger and more worthy person. Not so.
Why me? Why anybody? I was no more or less valuable that the man sitting next to me in the chemo center. It was not a question of worthiness.
What is stronger, fear or hope? It's an interesting question, and perhaps even an important one. Initially, I was very fearful and without much hope, but as I sat there and absorbed the full extent of my illness, I refused to let the fear completely blot out my optimism. Something told me that fear should never fully rule the heart, and I decided not to be afraid.
I wanted to live, but whether I would or not was a mystery, and in the midst of confronting that fact, even at that moment, I was beginning to sense that to stare into the heart of such a fearful mystery wasn't a bad thing. To be afraid is a priceless education. Once you have been that scared, you know more about your fraility that most people, and I think that changes a man. (I add, a woman, too.) I was brought low, and there was nothing to take refuge in but the philosophical: this disease would force me to ask more of myself as a person than I ever had before, and to seek out a different ethic.
A couple of days earlier, I had received an e-mail from a military guy stationed in Asia. He was a fellow cancer patient, and he wanted to tell my something: "You don't get it yet," he wrote, "but we're the lucky ones."
I agree. : )
All of you out there take care of yourselves. I have Steve soaking in the wonderful seaweed-arnica lotion I brought back from London this summer. Chris used it last night, and I think Jeff needs it also. You are are suffering with me. Bathe deeply in your heart and mine. There is wealth to share, and we must all care for the beauty and fragility in the blessing of living, for now, in time. Expand your space and breathe. We are ALIVE!!!! It's Celebration Time!!! My song for today!!!
My nurse friend says if I am not nauseous, I don't need to take the anti-nausea medicine. Hooray!! Side effects of drowsiness will then ease. I should have some energy today, and also, fatigue, but, at least, glorious movement is flourishing and dancing in me.
in peace and joy,