Survivors and the Holocaust

Yesterday was Holocaust Rembrance Day. I’m reposting from three years ago, but first this excerpt from Elie Wiesel from his book, Open Heart, which he wrote after having heart surgery: Illness may diminish me, but it will not destroy me. I don’t believe Mr. Wiesel referred to his physical body when he said it would not […]

Survivors, Suffering and Suicide

Last week there was some stir about a post on Metavivor that stated breast cancer survivors “have a medical year to endure and life goes back to normal.” The article stated that the early stager’s problems pale next to the metastatic patient (yes, absolutely true), but then goes on to describe the survivor’s problem as fear […]

Attitude About Platitudes

Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns.       –Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner These last few weeks, I’ve noticed an onslaught of judgment on social media where cancer patients, including those who are metastatic, have been slammed for being […]

Cancer Girls with Big Mouths

“It’s cancer this and cancer that.” My friend spoke of a woman she knows who’s a survivor. “Cancer has become her identity. She’s the cancer girl. It’s been ten years. I feel like telling her: Get over it!” Whenever two women vent, there’s an implicit agreement that we are here to affirm each other. That moment in the conversation […]

Perceptions of Beauty

My latest mammogram report noted the “architectural deformity” in my right breast. I guess it won’t be showcased in Architectural Digest any time soon. Reading one’s own medical records is like peeking into another’s private diary in which he or she gossips about you. It’s strange to read someone else’s words about the most private aspects of […]

The Gift Debate

I’ve never quite understood the debate over whether cancer is a gift. It’s not like one viewpoint is the right answer. Why can’t it be both? Different for different people? Even different for the same person at different times? It’s no secret that the same experience affects various people in a variety of ways. My experience is […]

The Imperfection of Misery

Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. –Primo Levi, If This Is A Man I read this quote today and it startled me. It certainly made me think. Most people understand that happiness is fleeting or […]

Remission Blues: A Song of Crazy

Maybe I’m not officially insane, but I’ve been hanging around Crazy Town. It’s addictive, but I’m managing to claw my way out. I finished treatment in January 2011. You’d think I would’ve been paranoid all this time about a recurrence. I’d been okay for the most part, but lately, not so good. Part of it […]

Affirm Life

I don’t remember when depression seeped in, but it definitely hit hard with the cessation of treatment. My friends assumed I was ready to pick up where I’d left off. In truth, body and soul bore the scars of trauma. To make matters worse, the grenade that cancer hurled at my body boomeranged and exploded […]

Shockwaves

Cancer thuds like rocks hurled deep Ripples flow    I’M WOUNDED…      I’m wounded…         i’m wounded… The tale told A single-note gong Like shockwaves    I’M WOUNDED…      I’m wounded…         i’m wounded… Cried until the shrill sparrow’s call awakens a rising dulcet major chord That warbles    i’m […]

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