Firecrackers. I am talking about the small ones, that make the loudest noise. You know the ones, you light the fuse and then “BAM”. They are loud. Startling in fact. Pleasing. Frightening. As a child I use to love to startle people. I do the same now but I call it illumination. It is possibly how I teach those all around me. So as your read this make sure you imagine little sparkles of exploding energy with shrieks and cries of those who are startled.
Raw is the emotion of a patient with cancer. Most dive into sadness. But some into rage. Exploding with questions and a need for answers. A demand for the whys? You can almost hear them. Listen……..
When I counsel a patient I draw from my own experience. If a fiery 19 year old comes in to talk to me, I engage in the most rigorous discussions. I can feel the 19 year old in me raging against the diagnosis, battling to be free and I feed into that. I look at the person in front of me and I say in my heart- don’t change. You are so beautiful, and thank you for sharing it as it is. I think they just do not want to accept the reality around them. They want to fight. And they want me to erupt against this beast that is attacking them.
Do we not all do this in seeking our independence and freedom from many things around us? Is the usual passage of human beings to be accepting and tolerant of their surroundings? I envy those who stand and say “no, this is not happening to me”. I look back at my life and say, I’m glad I said no to this or that. When I walk I snap my fingers pretty loudly because it helps me think. I find comfort in this sound because it reminds me to forgive anything my patients says to me when they are angry. Perhaps in some way I am forgiving my rebellious self.
So when you hear me in the halls snapping away, know that I carry in me all the firecrackers that said no to cancer. Like pins and needles they illuminate the way. Poke away my friends.
Thanks to all of the firecrackers that exist. This group (above) came together in March of 2013 and became the Midwest Sarcoma Trials Partnership (MSTP).