As memory fades away some images and sentences stay. I can´t remember the whole thought experiment of the quantum theory pioneer, Mrs. Schrodinger, but there was a particle, a box and a sentence about a cat that is dead and alive at some time. Only that stuck with me.
Three types of spouses and families
There are three types of spouses and families dealing with cancer. The supporter one, the wife/husband who embraces your disease, help you through the whole process and reassure you will be cured. They are tough people that will be with you till the last moment.
Unfortunately, there are other kind of spouses who just dump you as soon as you get your diagnose. I admire people who are able to overcome that misfortune and still move on, some of them write here.
And there is a third kind of “support staff” who one day fight for you the other can´t stand your drama.
No one is ready to enlist for this kind of battle. Let me try to be in their skin, with my family, for instance. They were with me in that Sunday I realized I was sick, in 2018, while walking in a beautiful state park, close to our home. I used to be a fit runner, biker but after two miles I couldn’t breathe. I was having a pleural effusion.
Two weeks after that the doctor told me I had cancer. I was dying, we thought. But after a long and tortuous process, I got the diagnose: I had just a stage 4 indolent Lymphoma. Not curable but treatable. I went through chemo away from home and I went back to the realm of the living.
Six months later I relapsed. They might have thought: he can´t stand more chemo. So I went to rescue (more chemo) and transplant (high-intensity chemo), away from home and here I´m again, trying to blend among the living.
And so this corona plague came, reaping half of the recent transplantees. What can they expect after all? The uncertainty drives people apart, they desire to avoid the rollercoaster.
Would be simpler if I go now, to avoid more pain for them? So I remembered the cat: dead and alive at the same time. It is a pain to live like that.
Till Death Do Us Part
Before penicillin, everyone was just three weeks away from the grave, so relationships had to deal with health uncertainties. We can´t think of Juliet not loving Romeo because he could catch pneumonia. There was a moral Christian framework….Till Death Do Us Part.
Now we live in a strange time when moral is personal. We are sailing in uncharted territory, the society as a whole is facing a multitude of “Schrödinger people”, without a standard to rely on. Our saying, therefore, is relevant now.
How could we bargain with our family? Could we help to discuss this issue beyond our personal experience so the next cancer patient is not dumped? Could we persuade the society that we are not just a resource drain but could have productive lives? Sooner or later about half of them will be among us, and healthy people should not forget that. What the “support staff” has to say?
In the end, the individual needs some sort of moral collective standard to deal with chronic disease at the emotional level, and no amount of medical technology could solve that; a different medicine is needed.
How long did it take to be properly diagnosed?