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Are There Silver Linings

Posted 9/29/2017

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  I really like this essay from JAMA Oncology that seems to capture a number of shared sentiments for those of us with cancer. One is that we all try to see the silver linings. This must be a natural human instinct as we try to adapt to difficult circumstances. For sure, others will point them out to us--and I would like to again go on record as saying that getting cancer is never a blessing and very rarely makes anyone a better person. We may learn to slow down and to ask for help and to be a little more gracious, but none of those balance the pain.

  I am not comfortable acknowledging that there are any silver linings, but I do believe that cancer gives us a chance to slow down and think about our lives. Since we don't feel well enough to sustain the usual frantic pace of our lives, we can consider our decisions, weigh our priorities, use our limited energies for the people and the activities that are the most important. With any luck, some of those choices will stay with us.

  Another well made point in this essay is the shakiness of the ground under our feet. Most of us go along without the heart-stopping realization that yes, we are mortal, and, yes, we are going to die someday, and the earth is actually not completely stable under our feet. Obviously we should all know this all along, but we don't.

  Here is the start and a link:

The Floor Is Not Stable
Marjorie S. Rosenthal, MD, MPH1

When you get cancer, you will seek the silver linings.

There are many.

You don’t need to get your hair cut, for example. Or colored. Because you have none. How quickly and guiltlessly you will delete the appointment reminder email from the hairdresser.

You’ll notice how people have all kinds of ideas of what you need. Some of the ideas are brilliant. Friends will buy you a wig before you thought you needed one. They will come with you to pick it out. You will look at yourself wearing the wig and joke about looking like a Muppet or Elvira. Your friends will assure you that you do not look like either one. You are not sure. But you love them, and you know they are saying it out of love. You will make a joke about getting a pink wig. Your friends may not laugh.

Read more:

Note that this link takes you to the abstract, but there is an obvious tab to click for the whole essay. Enjoy.


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