Cancer's Mind-Torquing Existential Threat

Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which lets me focus on and reference more easily the concepts under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

And if all this sounds too strange, too bizarre, then we can always blame it on the chemo.

» The Effects of Existential Trauma Visited Upon the Cancer Patient

FrankensteinSure, I jest about the effects that chemo has on the brain ..

.. but do not think that I havent been observing the effects of this whole cancer dealy-o .. on my writing.

From a certain perspective I am an observer in what I do. (We all are, to a degree.)

Before treatment began, I was wondering out loud what effect "chemo brain" would have on my ability to write.

To focus. To concentrate. (Which takes mental energy.) To weave an intelligent, cogent narrative. Because I didnt know.

And this might be a good spot to mention that .. the thing with cancer that you deal with .. beyond the physical shitiness that comes from the treatment ..

.. the thing that you are really dealing with .. is an existential threat. An existential question posed by presence of (via diagnosis) the cancer » Will you live or will you die?

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And because two of your most-favorite people ever have already answered that question poorly ..

.. that is what makes the question posed to you seem threatening in a mind-fuck sort-of-way. (I bet Angelina knows what I am talking about.)

It is difficult for me to tell the effect that this cancer thing has had on my writing .. because I am all up in this shit, this cancer treatment shit ..

.. but time will tell, as I will soon be able to look back from a broader perspective in the future ..

.. but I have felt that this cancer thing .. this cancer experience, this cancer challenge, this cancer testing, this cancer threat, this cancer vehicle, this cancer spaceship ..

.. has taken me to places and lands I could never have experienced and discovered any other way.

Physically, I do not have anywhere near the energy that I had before treatment started. That is clear. Too clear.

And this cannot be good for the writer. It would seem that your writing stamina is diminished (almost by definition).

But my range and scope of topics seems to have broadened considerably.

Doors that were previously labeled » Danger! Keep Out! .. now make me ask » "I wonder what's in there."

Ooh, look .. door's open. "Hellooo .. anybody home?"

It is not a peasant thing .. to have your very existence threatened. It does not come without rather severe anxiety.

But it clarifies priorities wonderfully. You see what is bullshit and what is (really) important.

And you learn a lot about yourself. So, not only do you learn what is (really) important, but you also learn what you are made of.

Priceless shit.

I mean, I would never have thought to write an entry about the opinion writers at the Times before this cancer ordeal.

Perhaps it is kick-in-the-balls you get .. when you suddenly realize that your life might be over .. for all intents and purposes .. and you didnt accomplish anywhere near the things that you had hoped to accomplish.

I do recall this 2x4 hitting me straight between the eyes, yes.

But you cant just decide that you have maybe one more good climb [ achievement ] left in you .. before your ass is dead .. you cant just go climb Everest .. no.

Because all climbers must start small and build up their stamina. Nobody starts at Everest.

So, if you want to climb Everest, you should have been training on the smaller peaks years ago.

I mean, everybody knows this shit, sure. But the trauma [ kick-in-the-balls ] of the existential threat [ the loaded question ] is what really drives the message home.

Following Our » Intuition

I admit that sometimes, when I go back and read an old entry .. especially something that is more raw, less polished (with both spelling and grammatical errors) ..

.. I think to myself (talk to myself) » "Dude, wow. What were you smoking? The Milky Way was obviously not big enough for your imaginative ass."

But hey, sometimes we just need to say "Fuck it," and follow our intuition .. wherever that might lead.

Tackling the Biggest Challenges to » Stimulate Growth

There is also the sense that the artist must continually push himself beyond his old personal bests. So sometimes, you think » "Oh, look .. there's something I've never attempted before."

And in this frame of mind, you look for the most challenging topic you can find. The biggest mountain to climb.

More than once I have bitten off more than I could chew .. but these are the things that cause us to grow.

The object is not avoid getting your ass kicked. The object is growth, which sometimes involves confronting and overcoming the timidity that accompanies a challenge or a task that you (feel like you) are not up to.

And it is usually with these challenging entries and subjects where I go back (years later) and read them and think » "Wow, dude. This is really good shit. I am so proud of you. You blow me away, sometimes."

I am thinking out loud here, but this sometimes helps me to clarify things in my own head.

The end. ■

You can return to the exact spot from where this entry originated .. see » here.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on April 27, 2015 4:27 AM.

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