Surgery and Recovery

It’s been 2.5 weeks since my surgery.  I’m sorry for not having posted anything sooner, but today is the first day in which I’ve felt able to sit at a desk in front of my computer for a significant period of time (which is usually what I need to write anything thoughtful or meaningful).  Until today, I’ve only posted a couple of quick status updates on Facebook to let people in the FB world know the latest.  Everyone else has been in the dark, wondering and possibly dreading the worst.  Thank you to all those who have sent me messages of concern. More

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Hope Everlasting

On the eve of my HIPEC surgery, I wanted to write about hope.  It’s a word that’s bandied about so frequently when you have cancer.  “You cannot give up hope,” Josh has told me many times.   “There’s always hope,” more than one cancer survivor has told me.  People have recommended to me the book (which I’ve read), the Anatomy of Hope, one oncologist’s account of how important it is to maintain a realistic hope, littered with the occasional tale of a patient’s improbable defeat of cancer against all odds.  The fuzzy concept of hope, this feeling like something desirable can be attained, is so prevalent in the world of cancer, that it seems to me like it takes on a holy quality that people embrace purely based on a religious-like faith, like if you have it, it will sustain you through your darkest hours and maybe even cure you.  Because the word is invoked so often, hope can also frequently feels like a cliché.  After all, how can you say there is always hope when clearly at some point death is imminent – where is the hope then?  If you know me, or even if you have read just one of my blog posts, you know that I’m not one to accept triteness and clichés.  I analyze everything in an effort to determine whether the cliché is some empty platitude or whether it actually contains a profound idea worth incorporating into my world view.  For example, I considered early on in Invictus the commonly-uttered statement (and variations thereof), “Everything happens for a reason”.  This post is of a similar vein, reflecting my months-long contemplations about this illusory sentiment of hope that people seem to love so much without really understanding why and which people seem so insistent that I should have.  Must I really have it?  Is there indeed always hope?  Is it truly a positive force?

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The Juxtaposition of Life and Death

I’m not sure that God or the forces of the universe send any of us targeted messages; I simply don’t know.  Although I do believe in a higher power (as I’ve written about in Deals With God and Slipping the Surly Bonds of Earth to Touch the Face of God), I don’t have that kind of unquestioning faith that so many do that God protects or speaks to any one person.  Maybe I over-analyze the events of my life to find meaning where none exists.  Maybe things just happen because they just happen, full stop.  But I swear there are times when I feel with an intuitive kind of knowing that defies all logic and reason and for much longer than a fleeting moment that God (which for me is the manifestation of all the incomprehensible positive forces of the universe) indeed is watching over me and wants me to understand, and even share with others, some fundamental truth about the human condition and experience.  As improbable as it seems to me that God would interfere with the mundane affairs of billions of humans (much less little old me), I also believe that God is a concept not graspable by the limited human mind.  I suppose that that transient knowing in the face of rational doubt is what one would call faith, tenuous as it may be.  Last Saturday I had one of those times again, over the course of the day in which I can say, in my moments of faith, that God was speaking to me, and in my moments of doubt, that I have carved spiritual meaning and insight from a collection of random incidents.  Whichever it was – a message from God or just my own self-concocted insight – I wanted to share it with you.

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