This post is part of the You Write the Title series – title submitted by Sac.
Cancer always kind of kicks your ass. Whoever you are. However you come into contact with it.
That’s not a thing that people say. It doesn’t sound empowering. It isn’t a rallying cry. But there it is.
Cancer has taken people that I loved, and brothers and sisters and mothers and husbands and wives of people that I love. And, by the way, when cancer kills you, you do not die peacefully or with dignity. People who say differently are not sugarcoating; they’re lying.
As for my round, I got off light. It was something I’d rather have skipped, but all told, it wasn’t much.
(The interesting thing is, I realized in hindsight that for months before my diagnosis, I was in many ways not myself. Was it because my hormone system was malfunctioning and its signal box was being strangled? Or am I just a nuthatch? I’ll never know for certain. Likely both. But perhaps my story is a bit more complicated than I first thought.)
Anyway, cancer takes and changes. Time and life and love. That much is irrefutable. But haven’t you ever seen a movie? The ass-kicking is what gets the heroes focused. Han has to get frozen in carbonite. Scarlett has to eat radishes. It’s basic narrative development. The complication has to happen. Getting your ass kicked is required.
But I think what the question is, is can you kick cancer’s ass right back? Oh yes, I think so. I know people who are and who have. Jamie and Randy and Allie spring to mind immediately.
(Have I? I’m not sure. Because of the variant I had, I’ve got a chance of a recurrence that is still quite low, but several times higher than “normal.” And from what I understand, it will never go down. It’s there and it will never go away. I don’t like to think about it. Which is why, God love you, if you’ve cheerily mentioned to me how you read that I have “the good cancer,” as well-intentioned as I know that you are, please know that I maybe wanted to punch you in the head. Nothing personal.)
There isn’t really any such thing, in this life, as a happy-ever-after, but certainly you can get up after the ass-kicking and use what you learned to make your post-ass-kicking life better than the pre-.
I’m not sure about “God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.” I don’t believe in a divine power doling out just enough drama to almost-but-not-quite break you. I think it’s more like an equation that balances out the same for each of us. People who get tamer lives don’t get offered the opportunity to understand living quite as much. Extremes stretch you and sensitize you. And we’re all part of a plan much bigger than we can fathom.
“But how can the characters in a play guess the plot? We are not the playwright, we are not the producer, we are not even the audience. We are on the stage. To play well the scenes in which we are ‘on’ concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.” – C.S. Lewis
I guess that’s it. I don’t know the plot, but I trust the playwright.