Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Now That My Cancer Has Returned... ... ...

... I don't count up how many pages are left in the books I'm reading. I don't count the minutes or seconds in my walks. I don't count the number of stitches as I do my needlework or count the number of beads in the birthday bracelets I love to make.
Love does not keep count. Love trust the spirit and listens to the body. Love stays in the moment. Love does not look back to keep score or count moments passed. Love doesn't count on degrees, statistics, records or personal best for justification. Love reads because it's good to read... Love walks because it is good to walk... Love does needlework because it is good to do needlework... Love is a beadier because beading is good. Love does not keep score.
There is something within each of us that wants to keep score, that wants the records to prove where we've been and to point the way we might want to go. Engineers have degrees... Soldiers and police have ranks... academics have levels of professorships, students have grades... organizations have goals... businesses have sales charts.
In its own way, Cancer is a record-keeping disease. There have been time when I have had to take my chemo-drugs away from the watchful eyes of my doctors and chemo nurses. I have had charts on which I recorded each chemo-drug dose. Those same nurses also wanted charts of diarrhea episode and blood workups. My oncologist has a protocol that tells him what to do with me. In the early days of my chemo, I was asked to keep a journal of all of my side effects... when they came, how severe they were and what happened.
As I settled in to my chemo routine I began to realize that my doctors and nurses weren't paying much attention to all the records I was keeping. They would ask to see them and than give the a quick glance before filing them. They would than put all their emphasis on me. I realized to them I was not just a history, or a bunch of statistics. Once they were satisfied that nothing unusual was going on (as if everything about cancer isn't already unusual). Those doctors and nurses trusted their instincts, they trusted me and they trusted the spirit. I have stopped keeping those records and have started to listen more closely to my body. It has become a much better guide.
I'm not saying that there is no place for history, records, statistics or scores. But if you live by the statistics you will die by those same statistics. When we live by the scoreboard we have no other way of knowing whether we are doing okay. I believe when we live by that scoreboard it indicates a life that must be justified and that our life is useless unless we can show the world our records of production.
One thing I have come to know as a cancer survivor and patient better than others is that you can not live life by statistics and that those same statistics are not always that reliable a guide. Not a reliable guide to the past or to the future. My spiritual changes are much more important than my personal statistical changes. Keeping the faith is more important than keeping score.
Some will we say, "What's the use of playing if you don't keep score... If you don't know who's ahead... if you don't know who won?".
If you can play, you're ahead. If you played, you won. If all you know is the score, Than you don't know the score.
Now That My Cancer Has Returned, I Don't Keep Score Anymore...


  1. Another beautiful post. Amen to not keeping score and enjoying life's little nuances. Just noticed your book list. Cool!

  2. What a great post! You have such an amazing insight to life and I learn so much from you. I hope things are okay, I heard that you were in the hospital yesterday, just thinking of you :)

  3. You amaze me more and more each day I know you. You are the soul mate I thought I was still searching for. I love you so much and am so proud and honored to have you in my life. You are my greatest teacher, my friend.