Broken Brain

Whoops it’s been about 2 months since I put a new blog post here. I have written one, just didn’t post–it isn’t quite good enough, and it’s just a little too personal to share, just yet.

Mostly I’ve just been tired, bored, unmotivated. I always see writing advice claiming one should write for some amount of time each day because good writing comes from practicing, working on it, not waiting for “inspiration”. Sadly, I have yet to learn this lesson. I kind of need to be fired up to get inspired and then I write in a giant spurt. I just can’t force myself to sit down and write something unless I really have something to say–it feels unproductive to me. So I don’t like to “waste” time at it; there are too many other things I could/should be doing. Yeah, I know it isn’t really a “waste” of time, I just can’t convince my brain of this.

I’ve still been posting on Facebook, a little, though for a few days there I just didn’t.  I didn’t feel like engaging in conversation with others on their pages. I was and still am jaded. I’m tired of having the same conversations over and over. I cannot join in repeating the “breast cancer is not a Pink party” mantra anymore. It’s not that I’ve become some convert to perky Pink thought, or tolerant of Pink. No, I’m just beyond it and my brain cannot wrap around the fact that the rest of culture has not caught up with me on that point. My view is: “of course cancer is not fun, we are not all warriors and losers, and everyone knows by now that cancer charities are not spending money wisely”. But of course, most people do NOT know these things. I just lack the patience to continue trying to educate people. I know that is wrong–that I’m being VERY judgey when I consider the general population to be so stupid, when I, my own self, did not know these things before I got cancer. I just didn’t think about it much, like most people, who don’t think about things not directly impacting them–because there are a million other things to worry about. And more importantly, I see the Pink/win/warrior tropes of cancer culture as not THE problem, but a symptom of a larger problem in culture, in general.

I posted on FB something recently about “leaving” a problem, some anon quote that was not intended to be about cancer, I just applied it to my current thoughts about cancer culture. Someone asked me how on earth it was possible for anyone to “leave” cancer. Once a person has it, that’s forever. But that wasn’t what I meant. I did not “leave” cancer, I just had to leave the social media part of it–or at least take two ginormous steps back from it. No, indeed, I did not leave cancer in April, on the contrary, I was very much down in it.

In the middle of May I had my annual mammogram, with the big dollop of paranoia that comes with the looming appointment. After all the events of 2014 (see Complicated Relationship with Hope and Scar Tissue for the details of how I got called back for MRI because of a suspicious area and how that threat of recurrence is shitty), somehow I was more calm in 2015. I guess I just thought, no use getting all wound up, it all turned out OK. But somehow this year, I got wound up. I figured since it all worked out the last 2 times, well, this time would be the sucker punch–much like my original DX in 2010 was the sucker punch.

It turned out OK and everything, ultrasound was approved right away and turned up only a cyst, and I am truly grateful. My brain just indulged in some overactive imagination of worst case scenarios. My brain just broke down for a little while.

So, no, I hadn’t left cancer–I just took a breath, for a minute that turned into 2 months.

So this meandering post is just to keep my toe in the waters, so to speak. I will indeed try to motivate my butt into finishing some of my posts, and get moving. I’ll figure out a way to get over my jaded state of mind, and get back to my curmudgeoning, it just might take on a different flavor. Who knows.

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Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

15 thoughts on “Broken Brain”

  1. Ugh, I hate that you were shamed in any way, shape, or form. This is your story. You choose to leave whatever and whenever you want.

    Happy to hear about the cyst. (Not something I usually say).

    Katie

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    1. Oh I wasn’t what you call shamed, more like misunderstood. For me it was an eye opener about some fine division lines. For me, having cancer was one thing, the social experience is something else again. And I could sort of understand why after treatment ends some folks would rather just walk away, never keep up with issues, as opposed to those that dive right in to the advocacy side. Not something I can picture myself doing.

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      1. Maybe I’m projecting. When I walked away from Uneasy Pink it was a hard decision. Just know that you have my support no matter what you decide to do. None of us need more pressure, internal or external.

        Katie

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  2. I hear you about the blogging fatigue and expectation that writers write every day. I haven’t managed that scenario either. And yes, the topics on breast cancer can become repetitive. My blogging on that topic has certainly slowed down.
    I was thinking just today about your previous comments regarding the battle terminology used for cancer. In a news report today on Mohammed Ali’s funeral, the announcer used that same image, saying Ali “lost his battle” with Parkinson’s. The phrase has become ubiquitous in the vocabulary of illness and disease. I wonder if this is a peculiarly American view.
    Secondly, I was wondering if the “think pink” campaign might have some roots in the movie I watched this evening: Funny Face, with Audrey Hepburn. The choice of pink as a fashion color for women (and by extension all their body parts) and the “think pink” campaign are featured early in the film. Interesting to note, though, that the woman starting the fad in the film states bluntly that she would never wear that color herself.

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    1. At some point I’ll write a blog post about all this repetition–even the outrage about pink and positive thinking is getting old and stale for me now.
      Ha! funny thing about the battle metaphors in illness–it’s NOT just a cancer thing, and has been used in discussing other illness for at least 40 years!
      I think there is a book about how pink became “female” color–it used to be blue that was the color associated with girls! Wish I could remember where I read or heard that, and the why and how it changed. I mean, I like blue better, as a color, geez! This change over in color was like a century or so ago. I try to keep that in mind when I think about how long social change takes, ha ha!

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  3. I know you know that I thoroughly relate to feeling worn out with blog repetition. I’ve written dozens, even hundreds, of posts about the same issues over and over again. I’ve written well over fifty posts filed under ‘fighting the pink peril.’ It’s hard to take up the subject again and again without feeling like I want to scream. And you’re right — it’s symptomatic of a culture that continues to be rife with sexism, as recent news stories so horribly demonstrate.

    Fie on the scanxiety, too. I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad time with it. Totally understandable. That anxiety represents the threat of recurrence and mets that hangs over every one of us. When someone like Jody Schoger develops mets after 15 years of NED, the anxiety is hard to brush off. Personally, I haven’t been myself since she died.

    It is any wonder that it’s hard to write?

    Hugs, my friend. xoxo, Kathi

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    1. I remember hearing about it when Jody developed mets. Very frightening example of the reality we face–that so many still don’t “get”, preferring instead to consider breast cancer good and curable. It is just so baffling.
      I am working on a future post (I’ve been working on it a long while–just a procrastinator) about the need for some kind of comprehensive, but constantly updated, “history” of cancer culture. Ha! But I’m not volunteering for the job of creating/updating history/timeline thing. but such a thing would’ve helped me in my early white hot days of blogging–like, yeah, lots of people have been just as pissed about this and here is what they said or did. I don’t know, it’s all still developing in my mind now…xoxoxox

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  4. Hi CC, First of all, I’m glad things turned out to be okay after your recent ultrasound. I’m sort of an oddball here too. I actually worry more about not being scanned. Not that I didn’t worry when I did have my three bone scans, but getting scans sorta comforts me. Of course, I realize this wouldn’t be the case if I were not NED. And as for the repetition thing, totally hear you. Sometimes I ask myself, too, how many ways can we keep saying this stuff, for crying out loud. And then I guess the teacher comes out in me ‘cuz as I used to tell myself, it’s not the student’s fault when things don’t sink in, it’s mine. But then, of course, when a kid doesn’t listen, it kinda is her fault, but not entirely. It’s sitll my job to “make” her listen. I should write a post on this sometime because look at me ramble. Society still seems very reluctant to listen to cancer truths. But I get more frustrated when other cancer people don’t listen. Keep at it whenever you get the urge to write or interact. Persistence. It matters. As does truth-telling. Take breathers whenever you need them, too, of course. I might need one soon myself. xx

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    1. Oooo, your point about being a teacher is just what I needed to hear. Also reminds me of why I never became a teacher like what was expected of women who go to college in my redneck area (because even in the late 80s it was inconceivable to those in my region for women to be anything other than nurse, teacher, etc). I cannot teach because I have no patience, even with children who don’t know better-never mind adults! Of course I know it is an unfair expectation–until I got cancer I paid little mind to all this stuff. But still, people who work in the field like patient navigators, and orgs like American cancer society or whatever should at least have some inkling of things like how much many of us hate the sexualization of breast cancer. I’m thinking of the “I love boobies” bracelets sold to benefit whichever group it was–young cancer coalition or something? Can’t remember, but, damn, they should’ve known!
      Yes, it about teaching, and the thing is how to get people into “class”. Hmmmm, thanks for making me think differently! xoxox

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  5. I am so glad your tests came back OK. I get my MRI next week, and surprisingly, have not been thinking about it. Booked some time off for this week which I never schedule in advance right before a scan because I know how I get. But somehow I’ve become sick of worrying too. It’s like I am sick of a lot of things, including repeating myself. I am tired. Also work has kept me very busy so my mind has taken a break from imagining worse-case scenarios. I am sure I will have a lot of time to worry next week though.

    Like you I try to write when I am in the mood. I do miss your posts but I can understand a break is sometimes necessary. xx

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    1. Argh, it’s like you want to work to keep your mind busy, but then worry kind of invades and then you find it too hard to work? Or at least that has happened to me.
      I know writing when the mood strikes rather than having a structure and schedule of posting is deemed not good for a blog. One of the most often mentioned tidbits in “improve your blog traffic” type of article is the mandate to produce a post with some regularity. But I just cannot do that–so much of life was and still is soooooo centered around or a slave to schedules and deadlines. My blog serves as my therapy space and I don’t want to turn it into a chore! xoxo

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      1. I totally agree with you about viewing your blog as a yet another responsibility. For me it’s a free therapist just waiting to hear me vent. I only do it when I am in the mood, and I think once this changes, I might not enjoy it the same way.

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