Intensity


My high school best friend J had breast cancer before I did. It was a very early stage (maybe zero?) but because cancer runs in her family, she had a double mastectomy (and reconstruction). I remember her telling me that in a way she missed the intensity of the early days of her cancer and treatment. There is the Grab On to Life phase where you pay more attention to everything around you and are more conscious of the passage of time. As someone who has always contemplated death, I didn't think that I'd have a similar experience with my cancer.

And I haven't. But when I was writing this blog every day, and I was living with cancer treatment and its after-effects, I carefully observed the world around me. Everything was relevant and everything had to do with cancer because I was looking at it with cancer-colored lenses. I was hunting for material. I paid more attention. (as Willy Loman said we must, in a different context.) I collected, in an almost physical way, tidbits around me.

Now I feel I'm wasting material, letting it fall around me without picking it up. I've become lazy about cancer reports, not feeling obliged to report on the latest studies, such as the one last week that linked the lowering of breast cancer rates in the US and Canada to the declining number of women using hormone replacement therapy. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090205.wlhormone05/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/home

What fell today? I don't remember.

3 comments:

Ruth said...

I remember that time after diagnosis as being incredibly vivid. Later, I read that it's similar to the feeling thrill-seekers are going for when they jump out of airplanes or dive off cliffs. Lucky us: We didn't have to go out and do anything; it came to us.

Cancer Bitch said...

Hmm. I didn't feel like a bungee jumper. Just felt that there was lots going on around me that I had to report on.
The world was giving itself to me to feed upon.

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