Top menu navigation

Monday, June 24, 2013

Such small portions

When you get a cancer diagnosis, you start thinking about death. A lot.

I'm not planning on dying any time soon, and I kind of refuse to die from cancer, but it's out there. What's the old joke? Something about life, and how no one gets out alive.

When you get a cancer diagnosis, people sometimes talk to you about death. Awkwardly.

They say things like, "You never know, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow," and other such nonsense. I want to say back, yes, but I doubt you will spend the next year + of your life trying to dodge said bus. And how many people actually get hit by buses anyway? Something like 4,000 pedestrians get hit and killed by some kind of motor vehicle each year in the U.S. Cancer racks up half a million. Um.

Last week, there was an article in the times about something called the Death Cafe, which in the spirit of early 20h century salons, involves the discussing beliefs and theories about death and dying, with ample servings of coffee cake.

This weekend, I attended a talk a woman gave about her research into a phenomenon called Radical Remission. It's a fascinating topic that I won't go into in depth here, but she examined people whose cancer disappeared without the presence of Western medicine, and what they did to try to heal. She talked about lots of alternative therapies, but one thing stood out to me. She said that something all the patients deemed as vital to their recovery was a desire to live. It seems completely obvious. But push the thought a little farther -- it was a desire to live, not a fear of death. There's a sort of hairline type distinction there. It was, for these patients, about a reason to be here, not a reason not to be somewhere else.


  1. I came across your year of cancer video on buzzfeed and then came here and read many of your blog entries. I think you are awesome, and appreciate your honesty and hilarious writing style. Also, nice Woody Allen reference above. Best wishes my dear.

    1. Thanks!! The other joke in that scene made it into my wedding toast ;)