Friday, December 23, 2011

My Inferno

I wish that everyone could take a guided tour of cancer and then return to their healthy lives. I guarantee the world would be a different place. Almost every long term cancer survivor savors life. Self pity, pettiness, boredom...they'd likely go away in a world where people were slapped in the face with catastrophic illness only to awaken to their comfortable reliable everyday problems.
In my divine comedy, people would start on the superficial levels, where you have to call your parents and siblings and be responsible for delivering their worst fears with a trembling voice.
Next, you'd hold your children as tightly as you would a buoy in the middle of a hurricane.
As the tour progressed, you'd sit in overcrowded rooms with masked bystanders all waiting for the same toxic cocktails that have been not saving peoples lives for over 50 years.
You'd wait in the white walled rooms for hours as the familiar voice of your oncologist faded into other rooms.
Time would stand still when he finally opened your door. In that frozen moment, you'd analyze every feature of his demeanor, did he make direct eye contact with you? Did he smile and extend his hand? Was he looking at your chart when he walked in, were his hands clasped? Did he bring other doctors with him? Did he say hello? Did he sit down before opening his mouth??? The result of this thorough analysis inevitably gives you a 1.3 second jumpstart on the flood of emotions that ensue when he tells you the good, or the bad news.
You wait.
You cry.
You watch your friends die.
You stand in disbelief that people worry about their makeup.
I wish that people could taste the agony for even one minute…life would never be as sweet.


  1. Beautifully written....I vividly recall trying to analyze every movement Dr. Von Mehran made, her eyes, her engagement....what did it mean and am I about to be torn apart (again)? You're so right....once touched by cancer, and I mean closely touched, you never loosen up again, you never (or at least rarely) take things for granted and oddly never lie again....well written my friend....

  2. I so understand- as much as I can without it actually being me having been with Beth going through it. Very well written, honey!

  3. Just absolutely perfect! So well said! Thank you for writing the blog, Corrie.