Cancer, Party of One

When I was first blindsided by my cancer diagnosis six years ago, I was, as cancer diagnoses go, fortunate. My beloved wife happens to herself be a doctor, and while she is not an oncologist she is of course generally much more knowledgeable about these types of matters than would be a lay person. I am also fortunate to still have both of my parents alive and well – if a bit nutty – to provide additional love and support. And, as hard to believe as this may seem, I am also blessed to have compassionate, loving and, not unimportantly, geographically-close in-laws who are extremely supportive.

As if all of that were not enough – and I say this knowing full well that so many people must face this awful disease with a fraction of the support, if any, that I have had – I also live in the New York City area. Although that is certainly a mixed blessing, it does put within a short train ride many of the world’s foremost experts on the cancer that my body elected, without my consent, to which to subject itself.

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Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I do not like to engage in controversy or divisiveness in this space.  I want this blog to be a virtual place where those concerned about cancer issues can come and hopefully get some much-needed relief from the endless woes that the disease presents.  Nonetheless, these are divisive times in which we live, and I feel as though I can no longer be silent about the toxic rift between groups in our society.  Yes, I believe that I must speak out about the diametrically opposed views – and inability to listen – that exists between the two main divisions in our world.  I speak, of course, of those with cancer and those without. And given that a summer weekend is upon us – a time when our two worlds will be likely forced to interact over barbeques, watermelon, cornhole contests and other frivolities – I think that it is high time for me to address the elephant in the room.

Those that follow this blog know that this is not my first foray into trying to bring our two worlds together.  I have tried in previous blog postings to gently suggest to our non-cancerous friends some of the things that we find most vexing about their interactions with us.  I have attempted, for example, to provide a list of useful terms for the uninformed to employ when talking with those of us with cancer (https://itsinmyblood.blog/2019/07/11/on-cancer-language/).  Similarly, I wrote an entire post about things that the unafflicted should most definitely not say to us (https://itsinmyblood.blog/2019/07/17/silence-is-golden/).  Finally, I penned a piece about how, despite their best intentions, we would really prefer it if those without cancer would stop giving those of us with it unsolicited (and generally erroneous) advice (https://itsinmyblood.blog/2019/07/24/unsolicited-advice/).  Yet, sadly, all of these efforts have failed to produce the hoped-for results as the gap between our two realities is no more narrow now than before I undertook these Herculean efforts. 

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Ridesharing

It is hard to believe, but here I am again:  Just a measly two days away from another in the endless cycle of visits to my oncologist.  I love my oncologist; I really do.  In fact, I even wrote an entire post about that fact (https://itsinmyblood.blog/2019/04/18/oncological-love/).  But seeing her like this just has to stop. 

One would think, perhaps, that after six years of having cancer I would become more accustomed to this routine.  Regrettably, cancer is not an activity that one tends to get better at with practice.  And that goes for the attendant aspects of it as well such as doctor’s visits and worrying about things such as Death.  Quite to the contrary, I think that as my experience level with cancer has increased, my ability to cope with it rationally has correspondingly decreased.  The sleeplessness, the constant worrying, the irritability and the general lack of concentration are only becoming more pronounced the longer I have this disease.  In a strange play on words, the chronic nature of the cancer is making the symptoms from living with it more acute

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Nancy’s Point: 2019 Summer Blogging Challenge

Maggie

I am very excited to be participating in Nancy’s 2019 Summer Blogging Challenge.  I am relatively new to blogging, although my whole life I have felt an irrepressible urge that I had information about myself that must be shared so that the world would not cease from spinning on its axis.  I should also note that I do not generally care for summer as I am not what one would call a “hot weather person.”  Thus, to have any good reason to stay indoors suits me just fine.  I owe a huge thanks to Nancy for providing me with such a reason, and with any luck I can parlay it into an opportunity to avoid having to apply sunscreen and Deet for people’s unnecessary BBQs, impromptu badminton tourneys and other outdoor activities.  (Plus, I already have cancer – do I really need to push it by trying to add a melanoma to the mix or coating my skin in yet another toxic substance?) 

Without further ado, I will now focus on addressing Nancy’s thought-provoking questions.  I apologize in advance for any narcissism that I let slip out in doing so, but I hear that it is okay to be so these days. 

1.  Who am I?  This one is pretty easy:  I am just a more-or-less regular guy and family person, blessed to have a wife with whom I just celebrated 10 years of marriage and two wonderful sons (from said marriage), ages nine and six.  Along with our Golden Retriever, Casey, these people are my whole world.  (We also have two cats, but since they never leave the basement I feel like they have downgraded themselves somewhat.)  We live in a suburb of New York City on Long Island, where people have odd accents and pay way too much for housing.  But it is a good life and we are fortunate to have many friends and family nearby.  Odd fact about me:  I am originally from West Virginia.  That is odd in and of itself, but I am also Jewish which makes the odds of that occurring slightly greater than those of winning the Powerball – but I keep playing! 

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