Rusty's World

Rusty’s Reading List 2018 | August 4, 2018

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Yeah, so this one is a bit different, but it is still a book I read so…

This is a book provided by the Canadian Cancer Society for people dealing with life after cancer treatment. That is getting further removed for me, but it never really goes away. I am really glad I read this if for nothing more than validation.

Let me explain something I had (am having?) trouble with, that I now understand isn’t unique to me. While I was having treatment, I felt supported by people all around me. They sympathized, maybe empathized, and gave me the emotional and practical support I needed.
Then treatment ended. At first everyone seemed to understand that I would still be tired, so they gave me slack for that, but they also thought I should be incredibly happy.
I wasn’t, and they couldn’t understand why. Neither could I.
Very quickly people started to act as if the cancer was something that HAD happened to me and that I had gotten past it. I didn’t feel that way. I still don’t.
One day at work, when talking to a supportive co-worker, I said something about having cancer (in passing – it was pertinent to the conversation), and he CORRECTED me. He said, “You HAD cancer.”
Now, out of context that seems horrible, but at the time I knew exactly what he was trying to say. He was trying to be positive. He knew I was in monitoring to see if there were any lingering cancer cells waiting to re-emerge (so far, so good), and he was trying to assert that there was none. Be positive and visualize, I guess.
I took it as  a complete minimization of what I was still going through. (Thankfully I internalized it, as I would have felt bad at lashing out at someone who had nothing but good intentions there.)

For anyone reading this, be aware: I am not ‘over it’. Is the worst past? I certainly hope so. There is  only (‘only’…) a 30% recurrence rate (and I am going for a CT scan next Friday). I don’t need people to worry about my physical health.
What I need is for people to understand that this has changed me… possibly forever. All of this (combined with the multiple lawsuits etc.) has led me to depression, but even when I am feeling good, cancer still does not feel like something I ‘got past’. It is part of me, even if that is no longer physically true. (Crossing fingers.)

This is especially important this week, because going for that scan reminds me of my mortality in the worst way. I am not okay, but I am doing my best.

 

Books Read in 2018

Life after Cancer Treatment – Canadian Cancer Society
Diversions – George Murray
Geist #107
Akira Collection 2 – Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira Collection 1 – Katsuhiro Otomo
Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships – Eric Shanower
Secret Path – Good Downie & Jeff Lemire
Absolute Sandman Vol. 4 – Neil Gaiman and others
Absolute Sandman Vol. 3 – Neil Gaiman and others
ARC Poetry Magazine #85
Absolute Sandman Vol. 2 – Neil Gaiman and others
The Collected Poems of William Hawkins – William Hawkins
Touch the Donkey #16
The New Quarterly #144
Absolute Sandman Vol. 1 – Neil Gaiman and others
Autonomous – Annalee Newitz
The Malahat Review #200
Fables Vol. 5 – The Mean Seasons (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha / Akina / Palmiotti)
Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers (Willingham / Buckingham / Hamilton / Leioloha / Russell)
Fables Vol. 3 – Storybook Love (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 2 – Animal Farm (Willingham / Buckingham / Leialoha)
Fables Vol. 1 – Legends in Exile (Willingham / Medina / Leiaoha / Hamilton)

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