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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Looks Can Be Deceiving

"You look great!"

(or so everyone says....)

What they mean is: "You don't look like you're dying."

What do they expect?

They expect people with cancer to look like they are dying.

But what does a person who is dying look like?

Most dying people look like you and I.

I am dying. So are you. We all are dying.

From the moment we are born, we are in the process of dying.

So, perhaps "You look great!" really means "You don't look so sick."

I don't, thank God.

I don't look like someone sick.

Until I started chemo, I didn't feel like someone sick either.

When I was first diagnosed, and everyone asked "How do you feel?", I answered honestly "I feel fine." (only later, did I remember the annoying hip pain, which, it turns out, was cancer).

I had just discovered that I had cancer in my bones, liver and lungs, yet I looked, and felt, fine.

That's the devious nature of cancer. It attacks from the inside out. So, on the outside, you look fine. While on the inside, things are not necessarily so good.

This is a lesson on not judging others. We never know what is going on inside anyone else.

It's also a lesson in human survival skills.

We don't want to see illness in others. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us scared of our own mortality.

So we are relieved to see others looking well.

If they look well, they must not be so sick. If they are not so sick, then they will not die.

If they don't die, neither will we.

Well, the good news is that I'm not planning on dying anytime in the near future.

As the good doctors all assure me, cancer can be considered a "chronic illness."

You can live with it for a long time.

So, go on, tell me how great I look.

'Cause I plan on living for a long time. (God willing)

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Tania Hershman said...

Amen! You are an inspiration, R.


Anonymous said...

This site was started by a woman with lupus who had great difficulty getting a diagnosis. Check it out:

Rahel Jaskow said...

You had d--n well better live a long time, RivkA. We need you around.

y weinstock said...

I haven't seen you for a long time - but can I still say that you look great (or actually, you SOUND great). I'm looking forward to catching up and hopefully seeing you. You are a real inspiration, and I've recently recommended your blog to another friend with cancer.

RivkA with a capital A said...

You guys are great! Thanks!

Anon -- thanks for the link!