A few years ago, Mom found a lump while on vacation. Sure enough, it was cancer, and a particularly aggressive type at that. This began a long process: lumpectomy, biopsy, double mastectomy with reconstruction, chemotherapy, hair loss, a mohawk (no, we mean ALL her hair), more reconstruction, weight gain from the steroids to combat the effects of the chemo, a hysterectomy to remove the ovaries that could potentially be feeding additional cancer cells, and on and on.
One of the worse things about cancer is that you seem to never stop receiving bad news. As soon as you get your mind around one procedure, then boom! they hit you with the next. And it’s not friendly to the partner either, as every thing that you think you are doing right is almost assuredly being done wrong. I started writing a book back then, “A Manly Man’s Guide to Breast Cancer”, to hopefully help some other guy avoid the mistakes I made, but I was way to close to the situation at the time. It’s no doubt a good thing that it fizzled, as it would have probably gotten me strung up by my mangerines, as I was just a bit combative during that time.
I remember coming home to feed the dogs while mom was recuperating from the mastectomy. Sitting on the couch in an empty house, I recall thinking that this feeling was like a soldier that had prepared for a huge battle, but the battle was over and not a shot had been fired. What was all the fuss about, anyway? It was just tissue, and if it meant that having it removed meant that Mom had a better chance at survival, what did it matter anyway?
Through all the stress and fretting proceeding each procedure, each and every one was followed by the same thought: what was the big deal?
Worrying about a particular procedure was always infinitely worse than the procedure itself.
Then during the recovery, everyone flooded us with pink; pink socks, pink ribbons, pink pamphlets, pink, pink, pink until I thought I would puke pink. One day I remember us coming to the agreement that “how would we ever overcome this cancer if all we did was dwell on it 24/7?”
We put all the pink things in boxes under the bed, in the closet, in the attic, and went on with life. Was the whole process easy? You can bet it was not, but what was all consuming at the time now seems almost like it happened in another lifetime.
Until something like the Corona virus hits, and I see and hear the angst and fear everywhere around me. The parallels are too similar between physical cancer and the cancer of fear: we never seem to get all the bad news. Everything that we think we’re doing right we’re informed we’re doing wrong. It’s a problem that can’t be solved in a 30 minute sitcom. It’s going to take some major lifestyle changes before we come through to the other side.
But then again, nothing is as bad as worrying about it. And how are we going to get better if all we do is fixate on the very thing that we need to of course be aware of, but more importantly, looking past to a better future? Forget those idiots hoarding the toilet paper and hand sanitizer; I would rather never wipe my butt again in this lifetime than have to deal with the negative karma those knuckledraggers have no doubt incurred in the Great Book of Life. As a matter of fact, when I see pictures of those nimrods pushing shopping carts of hoarded goods out of the WalMarks, I can’t help but think that that is exactly the type of person that left Charlie in her crate. Let it go; it isn’t worth fretting over.
For better or worse, this too shall pass, and hopefully we will be a better country for it; there is always hope.
We be of one blood, ye and I