Writing Out Loud

Fight or Flight: When Cancer Attacks

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Trees...the sun and I...


You’re at work, totally immersed in your duties, and the phone rings. It’s your long-time partner calling to tell you that he has just gotten the results of some medical tests, and his worst fear has been realized. He has stage 4 colon cancer, and he will have to see a specialist who will perform more tests to help determine the outcome. Several months later, you are home caring for him when the phone rings…again. This time, it’s your sister telling you that she is “at the hospital with Mumma,” who has just been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer.

You put the phone down after the call and wonder if you really just did hear what you think you did. Subsequent events, however, confirm that, yes you did. And within months, two of the people you loved most in the world are gone, dying just weeks apart from their respective illnesses.

It’s fiction, you say. Things like that don’t really happen, you say. Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, they do happen, and it happened to me.

While I myself was not stricken with the illness (not yet anyway), I was close enough to it for nearly three years that I was able to absorb some of its emotional effects on the victims by osmosis. While I was not able to get inside either of their heads at the time, I was certainly able to get into mine, and not a day went by that I didn’t ask myself what I would do if I were in their place. Would I start the fight valiantly as they both did, shoring each other up every chance they got with words of encouragement, only to feel myself weakening daily from the repeated volleys delivered in the form of chemotherapy and medication regimens? Would I be able to tolerate watching myself morph in the mirror from a vibrant relatively healthy and thriving individual to a battered and beleaguered wraith?

Or would I do the one thing I’ve almost always done in my life when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle whose outcome can not be assured by anyone…would I run?

That’s what the nameless character in this story does, and knowing what I know of cancer and of human nature, I think it’s safe to assume that at least in some cases, the thought of doing just that does occur to someone who has a lot of time to think while the cancer does its work inside them.

With regards to the dreaded C-word, there are as many stories of survival and triumph as there are of defeat and death, but it is for everyone who has been touched by the illness in some way that I wrote this book: for those who have walked through its fire and survived, for those who got close enough to it to be burned by it, and ultimately, for those who don’t fit either of those descriptions and who lost their own battles.

“The Sound Leaves Make” is available in eBook format at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ4LV5Q



Author: raelove1950

I've been writing personally and professionally for over 40 years, and recently started writing books for Amazon Kindle. During the last 25 years, I have also written for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine; the Maine Sunday Telegram in Portland, Maine; Current Publishing in Westbrook, Maine; and the Reporter, a weekly newspaper based in Waterboro, Maine. I recently released a book entitled "From the Urban Wilderness: Life in the Southern Maine Woods," which is a collection of essays taken from a weekly column I wrote for the Journal Tribune from 2010 to 2016. It is available from Amazon.com and CreateSpaceStore.com .

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