Friday, August 31, 2012

A Collection of Random Thoughts



  • I was driving home last night and feeling rather healthy. Some minor aches and pains were finally abating, a minor cold had passed and I had that post-sick it's-good-to-feel-good feeling and I thought, "Why the hell am I getting treatment?" I get it. Cancer inside growing. Treat before I feel sick. Still...
  • I haven't feel like blogging much this week -- just not in the writing mood -- yet I've missed writing. That's an enigma, a catch-22, or ironic -- I don't know which. But I know that if I waited until everything was roses and sunshine before I wrote, I'd never write. Or put another way, the time I feel least like writing is the time I most should be writing. That is irony. 
  • Yesterday morning, I read this blog, 100 Days of Real Food and was thinking of taking the 10-Day Pledge. Last night, I had wings and pizza for dinner. Oh well.
  • Our team is working with one of our oncologists to create a video about "what to expect on your first day of chemo." Great idea. I've got a list of questions you can address in the video

  • As always, Momastery had a great post the other day. It was about addiction, which although far afield from this blog, reminded me of something I was told about a year ago, which went something like this: "Everyone has or will have some disease they have to fight, now you know what yours is." 
    (Apologies if I mangled the thought, but that's how I processed it.) 
  • As Yogi Berra would say, I feel like it's deja vu all over again. Having a hard time making decisions about who to tell that I'm starting treatment, just as I was when I was first diagnosed. I'm coaching soccer again this fall and I was debating telling my co-coach, but then, he doesn't even know that I have lymphoma. And what do I say? Of our 8 practices, there might be one where I might feel a little tired? So what?  It'd be easier to say, "Hey, read my Thinking Out Loud blog." 
I'm feeling the same way about my coworkers. I have a staff of 15 and five peers within a 40-person department. Who do you tell? It seems to make too big a deal of it to announce at a team meeting when the reality is, I expect the only difference externally will be that I'm out of the office twice a month for the next 4-6 months.  Do they really need to know why?

I think what I struggle with is dealing with people's responses -- or more accurately, I worry that I'll be affected by their responses. As I've said before, I've always been horrible when I've been on the other side of the conversation -- I wouldn't know what to say if someone told me they were going into treatment. It's hard to find the right empathetic balance. I, and I'd guess people in general, either lean too heavily on sadness and condolences, which makes the whole affair graver than it needs to be, and makes me feel like it's a bigger deal than I want it to be, or they veer to the other sunny-side up extreme.  

It's hard to find the happy middle -- and hard to stay there once you find it. The emotions are  like a perpetually moving pendulum, constantly shifting from  extreme to extreme, and only for a slight period traveling through the balanced middle.  
 
The balance is so elusive because it's a complicated mix of emotions -- and if empathy is understanding how someone else is feeling, it's kind of hard to get the right empathetic response if the feelings (optimism, anxiety, relief, fear, stoicism, pity, anticipation, anger) are constantly moving.  And for me, I feel that the tone of the responses will sway how I feel. It gets back to the central issue of control. If others cumulative response sways how I feel, then by telling more people, I risk having less control over how I feel. 

If cancer is going to teach me anything, it's going to be how to let go of this need for control.