Wednesday, June 23, 2010
LIVING WITH A BRAIN TUMOR, Day 10: Trying to Get to Reality
"I think you're very brave," a friend said to me as we panted through this morning's hour of deep water aerobics at the YWCA. "Brave, schmave," I thought to myself. I've got nothing to be brave about because none of this is really happening to me! At least, that's how I've felt for the past day or so. No symptoms equal no problems in my WWABT world (Woman With A Brain Tumor; pronounced "wabbit"). I can't say the same is true on those days when my vision goes wonky and my head hurts, but right now I get to continue in my self-elected position as Governor of the Great State of Denial. It's this disconnect that got me to thinking about the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the seemingly never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and any number of other challenges we face. If you've read this far, you're probably asking yourself what the oil spill could possibly have in common with a brain tumor. Bear with me as I try to make this clearer. As long as I'm symptom free, my tumor doesn't affect me. If it doesn't affect me, I have no emotional reaction to it. And without an emotional reaction it's not real. Oh sure, I know it's there, but that's an intellectual and therefore easy-to-deal-with awareness. That seems much like Afghanistan, Iraq, and even the oil gushing off our southern coast. None of my friends or family is in the service. None of them live anywhere close to the Gulf of Mexico. And consequently, like my tumor, these tragic challenges seem remote. If there's a lesson to be learned here, maybe it has to do with the realization that one needn't be emotionally involved in order to deal with a problem. I can write to my political reps regarding the wars. I can send letters to the editor of my newspaper. I can donate money to the relief organizations that are assisting with the oil spill. As for my tumor, I'm ready to deal with that, too. Soon. Maybe right after my next doctor appointment.