I’ve been experimenting with Twitter (@) as a way to reach out to people who might be interested in reading my these ramblings. The reception has been gratifying and surprising with nearly a hundred complete strangers taking an interest in only two days. Thank you all for following.
Today’s topic, courage, arises from a message from one of those new followers. She spent an hour or so reading the archives and recent posts at colontosemicolon.com and was compelled to reach out and tell me how amazingly couragious I am. It made me think.
We all marvel at those who stand tall, or stand at all, in the face of the myriad of horrors that can upset a life. Death, disease, divorce, accident or other loss, suffered by others, leaves us speechless and confused. I’ve already written about the phenomenon of being struck dumb by bad news in People Change last September. That universal tongue tied fumble is related, I think, to our amazement at the strength of patients and victims. When just the news of other’s pain knocks us on our asses, we just can’t imagine how that other can still be standing.
I don’t feel courageous, brave, amazing or even strong. Many days I am pleased with my ability to sit up and take nourishment. Some days all I can manage is the trip from my bed to the couch. If I can go for a walk or write a little it’s a bonus. What people around me see, I think, is the mask of smile and stoic resignation filtered through their own inability to imagine how to deal with stage 4 cancer.
Like all cancer patients, I deal with it because there is, quite simply, no alternative. We engage in the fight, with doctors (@) and nurses leading the attack, behind smiles and reassuring words for friends and family because to do anything else just isn’t possible. Fight or die. It’s been the source of what we call bravery for thousands of years.
I spent five hours today in a chair at the chemo clinic being pumped full of the poisons that are meant to save my life. It wasn’t bravery that kept my ass firmly planted; it was pure, unadulterated necessity. Doctor’s orders. Medicine in action. Given any reasonable alternative, I wouldn’t be spending the next four days teetering on the edge of puking the cancer out along with the rest of my organs. Somebody show me another way and I will show you a complete chicken in action.
Be chicken with me. Get Tested,