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Looking for the Blessings

Posted 7/20/2015

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  I will never be one of those people who suggest that a cancer diagnosis has been a blessing. I think it is quite wonderful and probably very healthy that they can make the statement, but I have never gotten there. I do think that some good things can follow a diagnosis, but I suspect we would have all been perfectly glad to miss them and stay healthy.

 For me, the good things (and, note, that I am not saying the blessings), are always the people. It is easy for me to say that there have been countless blessings associated with my work, and since that work sits firmly in Cancer World, they are related. How many wonderful people I have known and loved because of their diagnosis and treatment. How many worlds and lives I have entered, how many relationships I have treasured--none of which would have come my way had I been employed somewhere else.

  Re my own two cancer diagnoses, nothing good and surely no blessings. Perhaps because of my work, I already had learned the lessons about life being short, and people being what matters, and perspectives of true values. I knew already about not delaying and always saying "I love you", and really noticing and appreciating the beautiful world around us.

  This is an introduction to these wonderful essay by Susan Gubar. She, no doubt a better person than me, has been able to recognize some blessings along with all the curses.

  Here is the start and a link to read more. Please do so.

Living With Cancer: Curses and Blessings

Like someone with bipolar disorder, I see-saw between irritability and elation, depression and euphoria.
As a cancer patient, I cycle through curses and blessings at a hectic rate.
During long stints in the hospital, I brooded over the blight cancer and its treatments cast upon my spirits.
I fumed while waiting or furiously called again for nurses to deal with a malfunctioning machine. When
they arrived to fix the problem, an overwhelming sense of relief tripped me into extravagant and tearful
hymns of praise.
Outside the hospital, a spasm of hostility toward the healthy can sink me into the ultimate degradation of
sickness: its knack for instilling spitefulness. The sight of undergraduates playing soccer on a sunlit
quadrangle or of runners sprinting down the street fills me with jealousy at their unmarred, whole and
wholly functioning bodies. A dog snoozing on a sunny porch or a deer startled into a leaping prance across
a meadow: How can they be at home in the flesh and in the world when I am not?
The real horror lies within, in my capacity for bilious envy. Why am I scared and scarred, when all those
others are not? Why am I positioned toward a dire future when all those others take for granted the
pleasures of the present? Why am I fulminating about a friend who has neither phoned nor visited? Nasty
side effects of cancer, malice and venom, must not poison my days I determine over and over again.


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