qotd: Positivity is Bullshit When You Have Cancer

The truth is we don’t know why this shit happens. In an interview with The Guardian, Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the ‘cancer memoir’ The Emperor of All Maladies, says, “In a spiritual sense, a positive attitude may help you get through chemotherapy and surgery and radiation and what have you. But a positive mental attitude does not cure cancer—any more than a negative mental attitude causes cancer.” We need to stop blaming cancer patients and start supporting their emotional needs. We can’t stop time. We can’t control most of life’s plot twists. We can embrace the unexpected, and give a patient a shoulder to cry on so that she can face her disease with genuine hope and realistic expectations.

via Positivity is Bullshit When You Have Cancer.

More days away from death. Further thoughts on Christopher #Hitchens and others.

What Would Jesus Read? Christopher Hitchens.

Image by Capt. Joe Kickass via Flickr

Yes, still somber in the wake of the death of Christopher Hitchens this past Thursday. Since I’ve had cancer, I inevitably focus upon any other person diagnosed with the same type of cancer that I had, esophageal cancer. Now in this past week the two people that I knew of who were currently dealing with that particular type of cancer have died, one on Wednesday and Christopher Hitchens on Thursday.

[I might add in here that I myself had my regular quarterly check-up at my oncologist's a week ago and everything is still fine and I don't even have to have a scan  this year.]

All I can think of to do, and all I could think of to do before these two deaths, is to keep trying to take more days away from death than I was going to get otherwise.

I am also sitting here reading god is not great and feeling oddly soothed by it.

Christopher Hitchens: a tiny obituary for a great writer

Christopher Hitchens

Image via Wikipedia


I woke early today for no known reason, tossed rather contentedly from my cocoon of bed clothes and eventually dragged the laptop over to begin some writing. Suddenly, I’m met with numbers of articles that mention the death of Christopher Hitchens yesterday.

I am sad at more than a loss of a good writer — he and I have/had the same kind of cancer, esophageal cancer. Mine was discovered far earlier in its development than his was, and thus a pang of guilt goes through me as I write this: I am still here. Being able to say “survivor’s guilt” does not really make it any easier.

But mostly I’m saddened at the passing of a writer who detailed life in Tumortown, as he called it, because such people are a rarity. He has gotten tons of details and insights down properly without once veering off into maudlin sentiment. In the world of cancer-writing, this is rare.

Good and talented people leave this planet far too early far too often, I think. We have to do our best to fill in the holes as we can.