Excerpt: Silver Linings

Introspective Interlude January 3, 2009

One of the girls in my chemo group asked today:

Does anyone get down like that? Sometimes I get so MAD at myself. I seriously can NOT believe I have/had fucking cancer. What the f?????? I feel like a freak. How did this happen? Am I a genetic mutant or something????”

My reply was:

I get down and I get angry, but I don’t get angry in quite the same direction you do, I think. I feel angry that cancer invaded me. For a while I felt angry that my body — and my breast particularly — betrayed me. But somewhere by the time the surgery came around, I began to feel — not literally, just as a way of looking at it — that I had been invaded by horrible little aliens or monsters or something. I felt like they were stomping around wreaking havoc in my breast and it horrified me. About five days after my surgery I realized they were GONE! Evicted! An enormous sense of relief overcame me. Now my vision is that if there are any remaining cancer cells in me, they are like tiny Gollums only without the potential to redeem themselves. Horrible creeping sneaky little creatures. It occurs to me just now at this moment that this could be a good meditation/visualization tool… if you combine that thought with the one where you fill yourself with white light? Well wouldn’t Gollum just HATE to be hit with white light?

Anyway, my anger is at what is being done to me, not at myself, and that is where the difference seems to lie. Please don’t be angry at yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong. Bad things happen to good people. It happens. It happened to all of us. Do you think [another of my chemo girlfriends] is a freak for getting cancer? Of course not. Neither are you. 

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