Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Lies Behind The Color

Yesterday I tried to write about something that happened at work. When I sat down at the computer to write, I was stymied by an upwelling of fear and sadness, and the best I could do was write the word melancholy and a post about seeing what one wants to see.

At 4:30 yesterday, one of my work-mates, C., got a call following up some tests she'd had the previous day. The diagnosis: stomach cancer.

Everything screeched to a halt. C. sat down, shaken, bargaining with herself. M. got out the single malt Scotch.

C. is whisper-thin, and has complained of stomach issues since last July. We've been at her to see a traditional doctor, but she's insisted on naturopathy, a Chinese herbalist and acupuncture. I don't know what compelled her to finally go the mainstream route, but on Monday she succumbed to an afternoon of bodily invasions, and came out of there thinking she only had to deal with an ulcer.

People recover and go on with their lives. And, at the same time, people don't recover. The one thing that is true, mentioned the other day: none of us will get out of this alive.

The world seemed a grave and lonely place last night, no matter what color I attempted to conceal it with.

And for the moment, I'm one of the lucky ones.


  1. Ack. Wrenching news. Life changes on a dime.

    My grandmother died of stomach cancer...I hope your coworker and friend gets the best treatment possible.

    It's so fucking scary and unfair. And there it is.

  2. So very sorry, T. Life is so devastating sometimes, you wonder how you can bear it. I'll be thinking of you.

  3. Awful. Plain and simple awful. I don't know -- it just seems like so many people are developing cancer. I so take my health for granted, my life for granted. It all pisses me off sometimes. I'm sorry.

  4. Firstly, it seems a little callous to ring someone at work to tell them they have cancer!

    Timely also to warn again 'quack' doctors, If there's a 'human body map' on the wall covered in lines and numbers, avoid the practitioner like the plague. Mainstream medicine is called 'mainstream' for a very good reason. It's a shame she didn't go there first.

  5. what a horrible blow. i am so sorry--altho your coworker is lucky to have such a caring work environment to support her through her illness. and, how lucky for her to have *you* around!

  6. I'm so sorry.

    We all need each other (well, not some of us do the rest of us need, but that's neither here nor there right now.)

    Love, C.

  7. I work in cancer care. I came across a quote today which is apt.

    Cancer is a word, not a sentence. John Diamond

  8. I have my weekly treatment in an infusion center at OHSU, & I'm usually the only non-cancer patient in there. While my condition is a serious one, it's chronic rather than potentially terminal. & every Friday I feel that mortality & my own relative good fortune very strongly. But you're right: as a dear friend once told me: we're all terminal.