Cancer Patient-ing Like it’s my JOB: ADDENDUM

Photo by me, at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, CA.

I titled this series “Cancer Patient-ing Like it’s my JOB” because I spend such a great deal of my time, energy, and resources being a cancer patient (beyond the baseline medical appointments and treatments). 

In my disclaimers, I explicitly note that I attribute my longevity entirely to my targeted therapy medication and luck, and not all of the extras I go on to list in Part 1, 2, and 3. So, why then do I even bother with all of these extras?

Following the logic of Carl Jung’s philosophy that “what you resist persists,” I have always felt it important to place my attention and energy on my healthy cells, rather than on my sick ones. And, as I wrote back in my Language of Cancer post in 2014, I simply find it more empowering to fight for something (my healthy self), rather than fighting against something (cancer). All of my diet, exercise and alternative “extras” are my attempts to strengthen my healthy self (physically and mentally) — not to replace my conventional medicine, but to support it. 

But, all my extra efforts are not simply a regimen to support my health. A few months ago, a friend quoted the words of the Black American abolitionist Mariame Kaba “hope is a discipline” and shared an article with me on the topic. Kaba’s mindset resonates deeply with me. It’s undeniable that hope is an important element in coping with hardship. That’s why the word “hope” is tossed around a lot in the cancer space; but, it’s often interpreted as a passive exercise in feeling hope (or denying reality) hard enough. That isn’t what I think hope is. For me, hope is sustained, intentional effort toward a goal, (especially an improbable one) – a discipline. All the “cancer patient-ing jobs” I discuss in Part 1, 2, and 3 are really my attempt at disciplined, intentional effort toward healing. They are my version of hope.