Creating my reality in the Cancerverse

Hey my people,

“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.”

That quote, spoken by the great philosopher Lily Tomlin, is a founding principle of my work with Well Again. Let me explain.

We cancer people don’t take strength from our community. This has bothered me from the start. I could never understand why, when there are so many of us, we don’t look to each other for friendship, understanding, and the occasional dance party.

What are we? Chopped liver?

Actually, yeah. Kind of. Our medical caregivers group us by the organ or system they dissected: we’re breast or prostate or colon or whatever. We never see each other out in the world, living our lives. We never meet each other as people. This is a shame. If I’m going to be in a club, I want to be known for something other than my sutures.

For many of us, our medical treatment, bad as it is, is the least upsetting thing we go through. We don’t say this, but it feels like cancer attacks more than our bodies. This illness comes at us at a soul level. It undermines our sense of ourselves in the world. It wrecks our reality. Not just once, but again and again.

This is the kinship we don’t talk about. I don’t care how many breakthroughs science has made; the word cancer still hits us like a baseball bat. Over and over, every scan or procedure or visit, we brace ourselves for The News. Even if it’s good news, we’re exhausted afterward. (After 15 years of this, I refuse to go home from a scan without stopping for a chocolate shake. There’s gotta be some justice.)

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Tell em Lily sent you.