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cancer closet

“The first time we got cancer we told everybody. We gathered the team and cheered.”

It’s a good idea to rally the troops, focus the force.

Then cancer-time sets in. One day. The next. Weeks. Months.

“How do you feel?”

“Are you feeling better?”

“You must be exhausted. Are you exhausted?”

You don’t want to be a drag all the time, but either answer with the truth, or lie.

Other choices? Here’s one:

“It’s not what I expected, I can say that much, but who knows what to expect. Physically I’m fine. Mentally? I’m all on-board. But there’s something else gnawing at me.”

More phone calls, the sweetest cards you’ll ever read. It’s an outpouring of love and loss.

The ‘something else’ part of cancer? Loss

What’s lost already? What are you losing this very moment? What will you lose?

Take three big home run swings at those pitches and you might as well stay on the bench, slugger.

Instead, take an inventory.

Make a list of the new senses you’ve gained, like the ability to smell the fish section of a super-store an acre away.

At the moment you may be losing weight. Pressure off the knees and hips is always a good thing.

What will you lose?

The ability to take things for granted shrinks.

Atrophy claims the happy nonchalance of an endless future of continuous joy. Work with me here.

You lose the training wheels you thought you took off long ago.

It’s another before/after deal. Not a resume builder if you don’t count character.

If character doesn’t count in cancer, what does?

You won’t lose your character. Instead, you’ll see parts of who you were ‘before’ treatment in the people around you.

It’s not pretty. Just remind yourself to keep quiet. It’s you, not them.

Like the first time you coasted your bike down the street and turned the corner to the future, the first time you lived on your own, or got married, things change.

Not character. You keep pedaling, paying rent, standing together.

If you plan on delivering a big exist outburst after your last cancer treatment?

An eruption like, “This place makes me sick and I hope I never see any of you people the rest of my life.”

Nothing new. Save it. Here’s why:

#1: It’s a cruel to be kind deal.

#2: You’re finally catching on.

The cancer closet door swings both ways.

“This is our second go ’round. We haven’t told anyone this time. Hardly anyone.”

About David Gillaspie


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