June 23, 2008

Over Dose On Passion

This has a lot to do with cancer. Hold tight. I’ll get to it:

I’ve become a White Sox fan in a matter of a week. I live in Chicago and last week went to my first baseball game since I was a child rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Three Rivers stadium with my grandpa. I’ve lived in Chicago for 5 years and never felt at home until I went to the Sox game last week. Is it the proximity to the plethora of polish meat products that makes me feel so at home, or just that Sox fans are nice, down to earth people, devoid of the obnoxious, frat boy aura that permeates the Cubs and Wrigley field only a few miles from my home on the north side?

I now care about the White Sox. I care that they lost a bunch of games this week to the Cubs. I am rooting passionately for my new team. I am an all or nothing kind of gal, zero to eighty in two seconds. I’ve been this way since birth. It is why I persist in careers that are competitive. It is why I got treatment even though I had no health insurance when I was diagnosed with cancer. When I care about something – get the hell out of my way because I give 350%.

This kind of mentality may be enviable to a self-helper clinging to Oprah’s-book-of-the-year, seeking a dose of motivation, commitment, and actualizing of hopes and dreams (sorry to slam ya Oprah.) But I care about enough and always have. And with cancer I care about too much: I am passionately invested in my unrealistic hope that 2 tumors on my jugular will disappear by my August 15 check up, I’m passionately invested in Pubmed articles, debating with my doctors, and looking to Israeli medicine for the what’s-next in thyroid cancer treatment.

I have room left in my life to care passionately about people and the political fate of the country. But sometimes, anything more than that feels too exhausting, like a passion overdose, like something that would fry an organ, or leave me dehydrated. Could I just tone it down, care less, be semi-invested in the White Sox? Maybe, I’ve never tired being semi-passionate about anything. It sounds so unappealing that I’d rather dip my toes in the cool stream of apathy and disregard.

I’m probably being whiney, melodramatic, and narcissistic but sometimes I just think screw it, after investing in the huge project of cancer, I don’t really want to give anymore to ANYTHING. So maybe I’ll take my new found love, the White Soxs, and squirrel them away for an era in my life when I have room for more passion on my plate. For now, my plate just might be full.

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June 10, 2008

Booty Calls For Cancer Patients

Okay, I am a married, faithful woman, but I only met my husband three years ago and had cancer for four years before that. Dang there were some desperate times, hormones flying around out of control. Like a divining rod I was just searching for the wellspring all the time! Not like I had the energy (or interest) to be out clubbing or partying, so even a trip to the grocery store held the fantasy and hope of finding a flirtation in the produce aisle that could lead to who knows what.

I’ve spent the last few years interviewing 20/30’s with cancer for my book and in these private conversations we often go to the juicy topic of being desperate for sex during cancer. I was so raging with hormones once I called up a friend and asked what he though of the whole proposition of a mercy fuck. We were both totally up for it when he arrived at my apartment but we never went beyond kissing – it just wasn’t a good match.

It seems so many people out there in the world are all about volunteering for and donating to the cause. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a clean, caring, loving service that brought good looking volunteer cancer fuck fairies to your home or hospital bed? It would bring a whole new meaning to donating your body to science.

What do you think? Am I soon going to be sharing the company of Spitzer for even writing this?

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June 03, 2008

Did My BBQ Give Me Cancer?

Is it because I ate too much charred BBQ when I was a kid? Because I hung out in abandoned steel mills with my friends in high school? Because I sprayed Miracle Grow on the patio tomatoes plants when I was seven? Do you have cancer because you always stood in front of your dorm room microwave which was right at the height of your nuts? I have talked to young adults in every part of the country and most have asked these inevitable ‘Where the hell did my cancer come from?’ questions.

Statistics such as, less than half of all breast cancer cases are linked to known causes, have led most of us at sometime to scratch our heads over the big pink elephant in the room: The environment.

For those of you who suspect the government is evil… well you are sometimes right. Over the past couple of years they slashed billions of dollars from the National Cancer Institute budget. The results: a decrease in clinical trials and pink slips for research scientists at labs around the country. (Kinda sucks for us young adults who have so few trials to choose from anyway!) But Congress is about to get a gold star on the forehead for putting our tax dollars to great use:

It is likely that they will pass a breast cancer bill requiring research grants on environmental factors that might be related to breast cancer. It would authorize $40 million for the programs for each of the fiscal years from 2008 through 2012. Finally, a government I can be proud of. (Oh wait, those words seem to be getting people in trouble this year.) Ummm… Finally Congress, way to go!

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