Cancer & Invisibility

Regular Contributor

Cancer & Invisibility

When I was going through my radiation treatment, I would make little jokes.  I figured the staff did a pretty grim job, and I might try and make it more human for them, smiles not tears, G'day, how you doin' ?

 

I vividly remember the first lady leading me in there (Not Melania Trump, I mean the first nurse to take me in for treatment).  Whether it's learned or natural, these people were all so kind, so gentle and warm and soothing.

 

I asked her, "so what are the rules about animals ?"

 

She was like (gentle, soothing, smiling), "sorry, hon, what do you mean ?"

 

Me:  "what kind of choice do I have ?  Cat, dog, bird, bear ?"

 

Her:  "I thought you were asking if you could have a stuffed toy ?!  I'm ... um"  (hilarious, puzzled expression)

 

Me:  "I figure the radiation will merge my DNA with the animal and give me a superpower, I just want to understand what my options are here.  Nobody wants to be "RatMan" or "Cockroach-Man" .. hmm, I mean I guess you'd be tough and whatnot .. "  (trials off)

 

There's a strange moment where we've both stopped in this white corridor, looking at each other, me musing, her puzzled.  Then her face suddenly breaks open and she bursts out laughing.  She was giggling all the way in (and later, leading me out).  "Nobody, in all my years here, has EVER asked me that !"

 

(I was stunned, I figured someone must have --- like .. if you go to give blood, you make jokes about vampires)

 

Anyway, cancer gives you a laundry list of PROBLEMS, if you look at intangibles you could say it does give you things like perspective, a higher level of compassion maybe.  But no - it doesn't give you superpowers.

 

Except one.

 

I think Cancer Invisibility is a thing.  I've read it in these forums, seen it around me and felt it myself.

 

I can't say if it's something that the world inflicts on us (a natural movement by the herd AWAY from the sick animal).  (plus a bit of "this is shit, I really dont know what to say or do")

 

It might just as well be self-inflicted (I'm sick, facing death, lost my familiar place in the world, people around me aren't meeting my expectations), whereby you imagine the effect.

 

Whether it's in their mind, yours or somewhere in between, I think it's a real possible symptom that might hit a cancer sufferer anywhere from diagnosis to late after treatment.

 

You can feel invisible, like a ghost living in the shell of your former self.

 

You can feel as though people in your life are pulling away.  You can almost feel yourself fading.

 

I still haven't figured out exactly where it comes from, but I do think that Cancer Invisibility is absolutely a real, tangible thing.  Being in the mind matters no more than schizophrenia being in the mind - it's still an important and compelling condition, and the only way to minimise negative impact is awareness and proactivity.

 

If you feel yourself fading, becoming invisible - step forward and start singing.

6 REPLIES 6
Frequent Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

Hi Captain,

 

Thanks for the positive message.

 

I managed to miss out on radiotherapy, but did complain loud and long about being juped that I didn't get super-powers following the PET scan.

 

My experience with abandonment was when I left hospital following my gastrectomy. No nurses (although with some that was a good thing), no doctors, no visitors (we live 60 km out of town) - just me, my wife and my cows.

 

I figure that people don't know how to deal with the trauma of cancer treatment until they experience it first or second hand. So avoidance is the easy way out for them.

 

So one way to get the attention that you want/need is, as you say, to step forward and start singing. That is, let the people who are important to you know that you are still alive and still want to be a part of their lives. If Mohommed won't come to the mountain, invite yoursel over to their places (or just call in unannounced) with a bottle of wine and some snacks in hand.

 

I can't imagine trying to do this all alone. Thankk goodness that I haven't had to.

 

A big hug and best wishes,

Rick

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New Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

I asked my radiation oncologist about getting super powers. He looked at me in surprise for a couple of moments before he realised I was joking. He did laugh - eventually - but for a couple of seconds I think he thought I was seriously asking for them.  He is a very ernest young man and some of my previous attempts at humour seemed to go over his head.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

Joking?

I wasn’t! I was ripped off big time!

Rick
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New Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

But would you use your powers for good or evil?

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

Hmmm... that’s a tough one...

I could use them for GOOD ( get onto ordinary duties) or to help the Director of EVIL ( events, venues, itineraries and venues - aka my wife). Either way, it would keep me out of trouble.

Hugs to all,
Rick
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Regular Contributor

Re: Cancer & Invisibility

Good and Evil blend into one another like the ole ying-yang symbol, if you step back far enough.  Or maybe it's only blurry when analysed through the lens of MOTIVATION (eg doing evil when intending good).  I guess if we look purely at outcomes, then it's easier.

 

For my part, I would choose to do good.

 

Strap a big red cape onto me, and kittens will be saved from trees, lost children will be found, holocausts prevented.


BUT ... I will also snap more than a few necks.

 

"Look, up in the sky, it's Superdude !"

*cheers*  "Yay Amazing !  Who will he save today ?"

"Oh no !  Look away !  He's landing to snap the neck of that convicted paedophile released on a technicality"  *cries of horror as everyone shields their eyes*

A crying child asks "Mummy, why does the superhero hurt people ?"

Mum:  "it's just like those terrorists he tore to pieces last week.  I don't know honey, I guess he thinks he's doing the right thing, but it's pretty horrible"

 

Power in the wrong hands is a bad thing.  And maybe anybody's hands are the wrong hands..

 

Anyway, if I got to choose the animal I'd be DNA-fused with, I'm thinking I'd have to go with super-agile lizard .. something that is resilient, long-lived, able to climb walls and regenerate injuries.

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