Tag Archives: cancersucks

A Wrinkle In Time… saves 9?

In some ways I classify Madeline L’Engle with the like of Umberto Eco in that the way they put ideas on paper not only fascinates me but inspires me to try my hand at the same.

However, I find myself in the precarious situation of having this inspiration under the effects of chemo. Chemo brain is so real, and not at all what I thought it would be.

Brain anatomy medical head skull digital 3 d x ray xray psychedelic 3720x2631

It is so weird, living in my new brain space, that I am still marveling at just who strange it is.  It feels normal, but at the same time I recognize that it just isn’t. I wish I could explain it, but it has pieces of black hole in a mid-century modern living space full of dark wood antiques. Things feel like they used to flow seamlessly together in the ol’ noggin, and now some are living in a continual state of being startled in headlights on a dark road.  The crazy thing is that it still fucking works, most people who meet me might not know how much more separate I feel from my brain space as I am able to make coherent and thought out conversation… I recently had a conversation with a friend and their inner ‘effin asshole badger striked and this kind of accusatory finger-pointing conversation was completely frightening and new to me, and I am still trying to figure out what was different in the experience (other than they were so wrong in arguing Mexico has no real middle class and felt cornered by my opposition to their argument plus they had been drinking and that apparently makes them asshats, but really?).

::deep breath::

The point is, I suppose, that the difference fully lies within me. My brain feels different.

I still look at the rough draft chapters of my “book”, hanging in the ethers and sitting and waiting for me to curl up with them like I would with my son after a spell of time apart.  They weep.

This cancer business is the shit, but not in the good way one would say “the shit”.

So, the newest version of the movie A Wrinkle In Time is coming out in theaters this weekend. I am excited, but also scared. It is one of those reads that stuck with me. I am scared because the last version was just plain awful, and there are ideas in it that can be taken apart by people on both side of life (conservative v liberal; religious v atheist) and I hope that it tries to stay planted where it belongs ebbing and swaying through all those because (for me at least) this story inspired reflection, and I think those themes are at their most amazing when they are reflected on.  Which brings me to the quote that inspired me to come back here with something more tangible than a reading list:

“She preferred scientific metaphors, and scientists to theologians, because she understood that science is more open to revelation than religion,” Voiklis said. “Religion divides us into teams.

Oh my goodness, there is so much truth in this… but some scientists are as bad as staunch theologians and revelation is not as amazing to them.  I recall once, thinking about something the priest had said at mass and I had asked my husband to ask him a question I had and the priest yelled at my husband and then I realized that the expectation was not to wonder but to accept and that coupled with a whole bunch of bullshit about rebirth (which is so closely intertwined with horrid awful experiences with preachy “born again” people,  and that may be why I lost faith, not in faith (though for a while it felt that way) but in people of faith – because they can be real a$$holes. Lately, thank God, I have come across gentle people of faith, where questions are OK and who realize that “No, the devil did not put fossils on our earth as a means to temptation” and my own faith has felt some softening. Which is a good place to be, because my brain (and here is where I bring it all back together, right?) feels like pondering things of faith is a mental exercise worth tackling and which, ultimately, might be what helps me feel more normal in my brain space.



Intellectual fugitives – update

He was interested in research (or at least feigned interest), but Li was considered an intellectual fugitive, unable to commit to any one question or plan.
~ Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”

I am listening to Dr. Mukherjee’s book right now and this phrase caught me. I love the idea of being an intellectual fugitive.

For the record, Li was the physician responsible for the first successful use of chemotherapy, he was fired by the NCI because they though his idea too aggressive. 

One of the things that I love about anthropology is that it, out of the plethora of other intellectual disciplines, allows for more of this than any other.

Someone I knew called me a dabbler once, I think they meant it in something akin to this idea – but dabbler doesn’t sound as nice.

I think we need to have intellectually curious people, a cohort of intellectual fugitives, people who can see relationships beyond the one question or plan. It is arguably a part of that road map to discovery, and a necessary aspect of the path.

But that is merely a musing and not what and why I am here today.

you crazy nipple haters
that orange circle is a modesty patch for all the nipple haters I know.
This cancer shit is tough no matter what – there is so much fear that needs to be managed. It is actually surprising, a test of human resilience perhaps – makes me think I am a devout coward, because I frankly hate having to do this shit.  I find that even keeping busy is not enough to bring peace of mind for a stretch of time longer than maybe 15 minutes.

Where am I right now…

  • I am very close to three years of remission from my first cancer.
  • I am newly into the diagnosis of stage 2B breast cancer, the edge of what is considered early detection.  Yay right, but my heart gets heavy when I think about how my lead in to surgery was so close to being sure that it was stage 1A – and that  following it jumped to 2B and that this is huge and makes my heart feel heavy and squeezed.

My cancers are distinct and unrelated. I write this for those of you that might be thinking this, it is not metastasis. A blessing – and how weird is it to call having two cancers a blessing.

I do know that I must have both chemo (regimen is still to be determined)and radiation (six weeks), with hormonal therapy for 5 to 10 years.

I just don’t really and fully know what that will look like yet.