Tag Archives: Lewis Thomas

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…

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So I spent the last two days trying to take a friend’s advice. “Quit feeling sorry for yourself and write something interesting.” He was a little more tactful than that, but I got the message.

I did try, honest. He even gave me a good jumping-off point: my original mission statement for the Situational Midwifery blog–a soapbox about things encountered as a midwife. The things that piss me off about women’s health care. About how nothing has changed much under the sun. How women and their problems are often blamed for, well, women and their problems.

I’ve got half a lifetime’s worth of subject matter, but right now that’s not not exactly what’s rising to the top. Go ahead and look forward to future harangues, but for now they’ll be about my own stuff.

Participation is optional. Nobody is required to read a blog. I haven’t been a professional writer for more than half a lifetime now, so for all I know, it’s crap. Or it’s crap to men, or it’s crap to folks who haven’t faced something similar. I’m ashamed to say I’m one of those. I got so tired of my mother’s crying jags and worries and photos of grotesque surgeries that I was nowhere near as sympathetic as I might have been. At 15 years old. So I understand that point of view, too.

So read on, or not. Part of what I’m learning these days is to stand up for myself. My friend has given me yet another opportunity to do so, even though I’m afraid he’ll take this the wrong way. If I never hear from him again my husband (who loves this guy), will be really pissed. Then I’ve got two problems.

Late night thoughts…

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Lewis Thomas had his, prompted by Mahler’s 9th Symphony. And I’ve got mine, though none so lofty. Mine are like: Geez–nobody looked up Amazon (previous post). Everybody’s so freaked by the damned disease that they’re going to go through life thinking Amazon mostly means

  • an online bookstore
  • a river in South America
  • a big green parrot in South America
  • mythical female warriors who lopped off a breast the better to draw a bow

Actually, if you remembered the last one from 8th grade history, you’re close to being right. Amazon translates “without breasts” from the Greek. I only know this because I’m freaked by the damned disease too, and that piece of trivia came up early in my internet wanderings. I have no idea why it seems important tonight.

My dear friend took me to lunch yesterday. She’s so emotionally intelligent, anyone lucky enough to be her patient is really lucky. She asks things like, “what do you want to have happen?” and “what scares you?” Like she’s not afraid to hear the answers. Like if I don’t know, maybe she’s got some ideas. Or maybe not. But that’s ok, because at least she thought to ask the questions.

On the other hand, I already told folks at the office that I’m not into the whole “cancer journey” thing.

“So how’s YOUR journey going?”

My darling dad, a very private man, was mortified when an enthusiastic greeter at a center for alternative medicine grasped his hands and insisted on defining this “journey” for him. He was supposed to emerge changed: “different, yet somehow better” than before cancer. Actually, he was dying. He knew it, and he hated it. As was his right. As is mine, should it come to that.

And nobody’s shaving any heads. I’ve been put on notice by my friend Pam that she’s sure as hell not gonna be bald just because I get that way. I still have a niggling hope that I won’t be. My dad used a cold cap during chemo infusions, though his oncologist scoffed. But he kept his hair. A friend who was a cancer nurse introduced the idea, said she’d seen great success with it among patients at Cedars Sinai. Well, I’m wildly enthusiastic about the possibility of keeping some hair, even if the evidence-based-medicine Grinch won’t support it.

Oh.

Please.

There will be no talk of making plaster casts. None whatsoever. Pregnant bellies are fine in this medium. Old boobs are not.