CindyA Posted April 29, 2015 Share Posted April 29, 2015 http://www.lungevity.org/support-survivorship/get-connected/blog/excuse-me Kenneth Lourie Early on during my indoctrination/assimilation into the cancer-patient world in which I now reside, I remember asking a fellow cancer patient/friend if I could use cancer as an excuse for whatever it was needed excusing (directly or indirectly related), and she said: absolutely, “blame the cancer.” Years later, after a chemotherapy infusion, I saw my oncologist walking through the Infusion Center and asked him if my thinning hair might be a result of this most recent chemotherapy drug (not all chemotherapy results in hair loss). His response was similar to what my friend had advised me in 2009. He said: “You can blame me,” (which of course, I understood to mean, cancer/the treatment of cancer) “for anything.” Now, I have to tell you, having such an acceptable, ready-made, beyond-reproach kind of excuse such as cancer as the reason for anything you want to do/don’t want to do/can’t do, etc., is incredibly tempting. It’s almost like having a super power, a power which cannot be questioned or compromised in any way. And quite frankly, conjures a wide range of emotions/reactions; from one perspective, it places the cancer patient in a position of strength, and on the other, creates a kind dependence that is hard to resist. My fear has always been that relying on cancer too much as an excuse somehow weakens the immune system and so I have been hesitant to use its power. Can you say slippery slope? As an example: if “the dog ate my homework” became an acceptable excuse, one would use it as such until it no longer passed muster; and as we all know, eventually it doesn’t pass anything. However, cancer as an excuse – in my experience, will always pass muster and then some. Moreover, the seriousness of it will likely prevent the patient from ever having to answer any show-proof type questions: “Show me your port.” “Name your most recent chemotherapy cocktail.” “How long does a typical infusion last?” As a consequence, the potential for use and abuse is almost overwhelming. Nevertheless, in spite of the temptation, I have rarely used my disease as an excuse for anything, other than when it was obvious by my appearance – during heavy duty chemotherapy – that I was unavailable, shall we say. It always felt as if I might be manipulating situations if I were to start using “cancer” as an excuse; as believable and understandable an excuse as it was/is. It’s so easy. So unquestioned. No one is going to ask: “Really?” “Are you throwing up that much?” “Are you sure you can’t get out of bed?” Besides, I haven’t wanted to give in to my cancer whereby it begins to control my life more than the regular medical appointments, lab work, diagnostic scans, infusions and the 40+ pills I ingest and restricted diet already do. I’ve wanted to maintain some control and try not to become a victim of my own circumstances. Easier said than done, I assure you. But I have persevered and survived five years and nearly nine months. Through a combination of good genes, a healthier lifestyle and diet, a variety of non-traditional alternatives/supplements and a bit of blind luck, not to mention a super-positive attitude which I inherited from my father, life goes on. However, if anything goes wrong, I know who/what to blame: “cancer.” It wasn’t anything I said or did. In a way, there’s comfort in having such a good excuse. Unfortunate, certainly, but very convenient. _______________________________________________ “This column is my life as one of the fortunate few; a lung cancer anomaly: a stage IV lung cancer patient who has outlived his doctor’s original prognosis; and I’m glad to share it. It seems to help me cope writing about it. Perhaps it will help you relate reading about it.” Mr. Lourie’s columns can be found at www.connectionnewspapers.com(link is external). (key word, Lourie) Read Kenneth Lourie’s 1st LUNGevity blog post & bio. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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