We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Have you received a breast cancer diagnosis? Got a friend who has? Before you make another move, read this funny and truthful lowdown from Shelley Lewis, whose emotional viewpoint matches mine so precisely I can't shake the feeling that I should've written it myself (after all, I went through this a year before she did). Unlike just about every other book on the breast cancer "experience," with its pretty pink cover and its crapola about how dealing with breast cancer will make you a "better person" (just like it supposedly made its author!), Lewis gets down to the real nitty-gritty. Namely: Breast cancer, at least for some people, isn't a "spiritual growth program," a "journey" or a "gift." It's not the ultimate opportunity for the perfect boob makeover. It's not necessarily going to turn you into Lance Armstrong and an inspiration to everyone. It's just a DISEASE--a scary, upsetting DISEASE that makes you hope you can get through the treatment so you can get back to your life--if at all possible.
A friend who has had breast cancer sent some quotes from the book, with the comment: "I Finally Found My Club! Good laughs @ all the BC bullshit. Thought this book might be helpful if you know others who aren't using their B.C to accomplish a spiritual makeover... & don't expect B.C. to fix what's wrong w/ them."
"My only growth was the one removed by the surgeon."
"Its completely life affirming to want to remain who you essentially are, good...and bad, rather than make permanent accomodations for a disease that you have to believe is just passing through."
"Lots of us decide we don't have to stop our lives to have cancer with all the trimmings - support groups, chat room visits... You don't see a lot of TV or magazine stories about those of us trying to keep b.c. impact to a miniumum."
"I felt about the Cancer Club the same way I did when I got my first invitation to join AARP."
"I draw the line at "Cancer was a gift"... You hear it a lot"
"B.C. wasn't a journey that led me to anywhere worth going...."
"Wherever you go on b.c. web sites somebody is trying to sell you an angel...I hate to say it but if you had a guardian angel before you got b.c., apparently that angel was a fuckup....(or) a slacker..and not just angels, fairies too. I don't know where fairies land on the spiritual ladder ...(but) it seems that those of us who battle serious diseases are practically being overrun with them. If Lou Dobbs weren't so concerned with Mexicans sneaking across our borders, he'd probably do a big expose about fairies..."
"Pink Ribbon Barbie" should be stripped, head shaved, (one-breasted) & forced to replace her pink tulle dress with a green hospital gown...."
"I was happy in Healthyville. Couldn't I just get a short-term sublet in b.c.world briefly then move back to my old place..? I felt pressured to go into the Pink Ghetto, but I couldn't stay there, I couldn't breathe... I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there..."
I tend to agree with Ms. Lewis. Bad disease is a plain bad deal. Scary (if you like life), with little redeeming about it.