Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cancer Grammar

I have never received a Granny Smith from a student.
When we talk about cancer,  we're wont to use an "it".  It's gone!  Or it spread.  It's back.  This is strange to me, since these are our own cells we're describing.  Granted, they're our cells gone bad, gone very, very bad.  But they started out just fine.  Somewhere along the way, they were corrupted by the bullies out in the schoolyard.  Invited to join a gang.  So brainwashed there was no chance at rehabilitation.

The best we can hope for is to kill those bad ones off.

And here I am again in the third person.  Cancer is separate from me.  It does not define me, it does not consume me.  It is a part of me, though.  And it certainly scares me  (more like terrifies me).  No one wants to think of cancer as a male or a female, so we surely wouldn't say he or she.  That seems to personal, too close.  We're talking about a disease, not a boat, for heaven's sake.

But cancer is happening in our bodies.  It is our own cells, or organs, being overrun by the baddies.  We try to disconnect ourselves from them so we don't feel responsible or like our entire persons are being taken over, merged with Cancer, Inc.

I've often wished to be more disconnected from my body.  I'd love to let every twitch and ache pass me by.  Love to ignore tightness in my chest or a heart rate faster than the speed of light.  Being far away from something or someone means you don't see them, hear them.  Can't touch or know them intimately.  If I could be granted a trial separation from a few of my choice body parts, I might take it.

Yet this desire to be less self-aware, less in tune with my own rhythms goes against everything I know I need to be in my future self.  I want to listen to my intuition, to familiarize myself with the new patterns I've developed. 

This evening, I realized it has been exactly 6 months since I had my "remission" scan.  We can call it my 6 monthacancerversary.  Surprisingly, I feel pretty good.  I passed my 6 minute walk test (given in the respiratory therapy department at the hospital), which means I am medically approved to participate in pulmonary rehab.  The test meant my blood pressure was taken a few times, seated, then I walked in circles for six minutes while wearing a little monitor that measures my heart rate and pulse ox levels (to make sure my blood is getting enough oxygen from my lungs).  The pulse ox never went below 97%!  Yay for my well-oxygenated blood!
F-ree parking at the hospital!  Maybe even better than passing the 6 minute walk test?

I don't know that I will be able to work out the rehab with insurance and my upcoming work schedule (hint, hint), but to know that I am capable of doing some exercise on my own is good enough news. 

What's more is that I think we have found a real breakthrough in the breathing department.  My acupuncturist began treating the scar tissue - the leftovers from the beastly tumor - last week.  Slowly, I have felt better and better.  And tonight, I even felt like I was breathing normally.  Please don't ask me to explain why needles poking around in my dead tissue help my lungs to operate more productively.  I just know it helps.


PS.  Perchance, you may have noticed the brand spanking new link in the upper righthand corner of the blog.  Feel free to click on it and donate wildly to Team Mama Mia as we will be walking Light the Night this year in celebration of my remission!  (You don't have to donate wildly - any amount will do.  I will love you all the same.)

1 comment:

  1. Not only do we tend to refer to cancer as "it," but people often capitalize the word. cancer does not deserve to be capitalized! It should remain as small a part of our lives as possible.
    Congrats on your remission result! And keep up the encouraging insight.
    - A fellow blood cancer survivor, Shelley