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Thinking about Cancer

Posted 4/21/2014

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  First, an apology. I did not write yesterday as the computer access from our cottage was totally impossible. After an hour struggling with the system, I gave up and promised myself, and you, that I would do two today after we got home. Should you be interested (and I can't imagine why you would be), the problem is that the best available internet connection is via satellite, and that is dicey at best and affected by weather. If there are lots of clouds, you can forget it. Then, once a connection is made, I still have to set up the remote access to my hospital computer and then get through two fire walls to access the blog. 

  Today's first offering is about thinking, musing, obsessing about cancer. All of us recall the first days when every thought, every moment, every sentence was about cancer. I remember my long-suffering husband saying one night at dinner: "Do we have to talk about cancer again?" And the answer was "yes", and, because he is a lovely man, he tolerated it. Supported it and me even.

  It is universally true that the constant ruminating gradually improves. There absolutely comes a day when it is noon, and you realize you haven't yet thought about cancer, and then a later day when you realize at dinner that it has not been in your thoughts all day. And eventually, if you are lucky and stay well, you will realize that you haven't thought about it for several days. Of course, the anxiety can easily come back with a backache or hearing bad news of a friend's recurrence or a mammogram scheduled for later in the week. By and large, however, the worry moves from right in front or your face to your shoulder to behind you.

  This is an excellent essay by Heather Millar, from Web MD, about this. I give you the start and then a link to read more:

Do You Think About It Every Day?
By Heather Millar
I know a fellow writer and breast cancer survivor who recently posted
about her “cancer-versary,” her anniversary of diagnosis, on
Facebook recently. One of the things she noted is that, three years
post-diagnosis and two years post-treatment, she’s come to a point
that she doesn’t think about cancer every day.
I was diagnosed the year before she was. I’m not there yet.
I do think about cancer every day. I don’t brood upon it. I’m not super
depressed about it. I’m not paralyzed by fear. I think the science of
cancer is fascinating. Obviously, as a reporter, I interview people
about cancer all the time. I accept my cancer. What choice do I have?
But I think about it. Every day. Without fail.


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