The author Whitney Archer feels so similar in certain spots, her experiences matching mine. For instance, she ends the essay by talking about the night before an MRI and crying. Another: she doesn't imagine the future. It's not a conscious decision. Instead, it's just what your life shifts into. She writes,
But being a cancer patient means inevitable loss. I’m more impatient than ever. My son mentioned me being a grandma, and I realized that I don’t picture myself growing old anymore. My timeline has inexorably shrunk to the next MRI and, if I’m being optimistic, next year. Despite my present health, the future holds both hope and terror.
|Three generations! Kelly, Alison, and Maybelle.|
More connecting with Archer: she writes about the ways people speak about cancer. She refers to the use of "'battling' it" and says, "the vocabulary persists: Cancer is an invasion; patients wage war against an army of rapidly multiplying cells." She said her metaphor is dual citizenship. Like she does, I know that the full "We will kill this battle!" isn't helpful. My imagery this year has worked with a list Catherine gave me:
May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be at peace.
I run that set of images in my mind again and again.
As I read the article, and as I wrote this page, I kept wondering how Archer and I are different? This is a ridiculous comparison I'm making, but I can't stop myself. She and I are different because I'm in a much more serious world of the brain tumor. She's not on IV infusion. I have to be in the hospital every other week. Big lump under my skin. Never allowed to have Advil ever again. Etc. My brain tumor is more serious than it has been. More and more. And I guess I want recognition of my suffering when I read Archer's essay.
But that's an effort for clarity, for status, for defining myself by framing myself against her. Offensive and not interesting, either. As I said at the beginning here, Archer and I have many, many things in common. I'm going to imagine her as a friend. Hello, Archer! I hope you'll be getting to bed soon.