Friday, September 23, 2016

99 PROBLEMS AND CANCER ISN'T BUT ONE OF THEM


One of my dearest friends moved to another country recently. Sadly. She’s the overachiever, full-time working super-mom who always, always made time for me. She’s got a gift for making others feel important and worthy, despite her very busy life.

She texted me the other day, asking how I was. Adding “the hubs and I are having problems, but small compared to everything you have going on…,” to the tail end of the text. Implying that I am too preoccupied or overwhelmed to receive her complaints. As if I cannot care for a friendship when I apparently have too much to think about already.

Damn you, Cancer! Damn you for stealing everyone’s spotlight. You are not the center of our attention!

***

In the 16th century, Michel de Montaigne published a book of “essays,” which consisted of a series of writings wherein he attempted to discover the nature of the things he was thinking about. For Montaigne, essays were a way to think about a topic on paper; a way for him to hash out his thoughts about an idea or a topic; and a way to communicate those thought processes to others.

I am no Montaigne, nor do I pretend to be. But I guess I use this blog to journal my thoughts. And lately, I’ve been wracking my brain for a way to explain that cancer doesn’t define us. That illnesses of any kind do not define who we are. I want to help everyone make sense of it all: the struggles of dealing with life outside of a diagnosis STILL EXIST, people. I’m just as human as you are, with the same stresses you deal with: the struggles of raising kids, the challenges of marriage, the violence of aging; the wrestling with life…the fight with death. In the same vein, I share a lot of the same blessings: date nights, kids’ school accomplishments, job promotions, home renovations, new friends.

***

I’ve got 99 problems and cancer isn’t but one of them. I’m going through the motions of life; just like you. I’m still me. I can still cry with you, celebrate with you, laugh with you, drink coffee with you. I can still relate to what you’re doing and/or going through. In fact, my spirit and compassion for others has never been stronger. Friends, don’t be scared to veer towards the mundane details of everyday life. Let’s not give cancer that kind of power over us -- to cast a shadow over everything else -- there’s life that goes on. People need people.

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