My appreciation for medical research and the dogged pursuit of maintaining ‘quality of life’ only continues to grow. I’m also acutely aware that my future is precarious, but isn’t that the case with all living beings? That is in fact the reality of life.
During my last meeting with my oncologist, she started out by apologizing for her tardiness. The tardiness and the apology weren’t unexpected, because she’s been late, often as much as two hours late, for all of my appointments.
She’s in high demand. And to her great credit, she does fully focus and converse with each and every patient she sees. She answers all questions honestly and in great detail, without a single glance to the clock. Occasionally her cell phone rings, and she picks up, but I don’t begrudge her that either. Rather than dart off, she takes the call, gives medical direction to the caller, and immediately refocuses back to me, the patient.
So with apologies out of the way, she got seated and began with a comment so unexpected, it has since taken up residence in my mind and continues to hang out there like an uninvited guest who won’t take their leave.
It was clear she was referring to the patient she had just seen before me.
“I wish they’d stop fighting it. It’d be so much easier. Anger and denial doesn’t help.” For a very unsettling moment, I thought she was actually looking to me for advice. I didn’t know how to respond because my mind suddenly stalled out.
… stop fighting it. It’d be so much easier. Anger and denial doesn’t help….
With absolute certainty, I know there is no truth more powerful than that.
When it comes to terminal illness, anger and denial only begets more anger and denial. Which in turn brings on depression, despair and hopelessness. Anger is exhausting, both physically and mentally. And it changes nothing, because the fact still remains. Terminal is terminal…whether it’s imminent or delayed. It’s still terminal. But then again, we are ALL terminal.
So how do you tell someone who is living with stage four cancer that they must see a brighter side of the universe?
Which brings me to the anger and denial that is sweeping our cities in response to our Presidential inauguration. Maybe you’ve experienced that anger and denial yourself. From my seat, the rage and declaration of denial has become so unhinged, that those who protest against what they claim is the vitriol of hate do so by using the vitriol of hate themselves.
Do they not see the hypocrisy?
The Free Speech Movement was birthed in the 1960’s on UC Berkeley’s campus, the very campus where violent rioting just days ago shut down an event where the invited speaker dared to have an opposing view. America has so much freedom that those who smashed store fronts, attacked the media with paint balls and pepper sprayed a woman giving a live interview on the street apparently forgot that they could have instead simply chosen not to attend.
The negative attention they garnered from their own reprehensible behavior seems to have been lost on those who support the notion that it’s okay to deny First Amendment rights when it’s denied to those with whom they disagree. And now they’ve unwittingly gifted the one individual they tried to silence with more national exposure.
The election is over. It’s really baffling to me; those who protest and march under the guise of ‘love not hate’. Is it only attainable to those who vote a particular way? Do they not see the hypocrisy?
If we can’t take pause to digest what IS, to learn what we might have done better, then how can we move forward in concert with each other…in the effort to lift America and ALL of her citizens UP?
Coupled with blatant disrespect for our duly elected officials, anger and denial only serve to deepen the massive divide that President Obama left in his wake, which unquestionably has given rise to President Trump.
How can we come to understand that sometimes life doesn’t go the way we plan…but life can still have a favorable outcome?
Well, here is something I do in fact understand: A poor medical prognosis is NOT irrefutable. Perspective and attitude can morph prognosis into a variety of possibilities that don’t preclude personal acceptance of what is and what is not.
All of us can make a directional correction in our behavior, but it must come with the understanding that life isn’t something we can control. With each second, minute and hour of the day, life is a gift…delivering lessons for furthered understanding of our own individual immortality, along with hope for a better tomorrow.
And for those of you living with stage four cancer who may feel anger and a sense hopelessness? Look within yourself. Listen to the beat of your own heart until you feel its’ strength and steady rhythm. Then eyes forward! And keep your eyes on that horizon. Don’t look back, and don’t look down. Eyes forward always, because time is what YOU make of it. No matter the distance, no matter how long the journey, the horizon will always be there waiting for you, no matter how long it takes. Treasure the moments along the way. Blessings to you all. xo