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Initially diagnosed June 4, 2009 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage II,Grade II tumor size: 2-3 cm node positive ER/PR postive HER2 Neu - negative Current Diagnosis: Metastatic Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3 Mets: Scalp/skin, Liver, Spine, Bone ER/PR + HER2/NEU -

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Long Hot Bath and Some Quotes

I just got out of a long hot bath in the Jacuzzi tub we installed and tiled ourselves just prior to my initial diagnosis.  I'm so glad now that we put that effort out. It's an oasis for me.  I go in there for hours to soak and read.  I've been reading a book a friend from school, Lori, sent me called "Stranger in the Village of the Sick" - by Paul Stoller.  

It compares an anthropologist's life lessons learned in Niger, with the Songhay people, to his life as a cancer patient.  I bookmarked a few great quotes from the book to share with you. These quotes seem to really have the right wording that I have trouble conveying.  I hope you enjoy them.  The people in these quotes are Songhay people he met and knew on the many trips he made to Niger to study their culture and religion.

"Adamu Jenitongo told me that one needs to respect illness as part of life.  Individuals should treat their illnesses and seek health and vitality.  By the same token, the restoration of health does not make you a conqueror.  For someone like Adamu Jenitongo, an individual is but a trickle in life's stream.  We all live on borrowed time.  To accomplish this feat, he would say, we need to pick our battles very carefully and exert our force when it is important to do so."

"...cancer patients are also solitary figures.  The disease makes you the intermediary between the relative tranquility of family life and the absolute disruption of illness.  You live at the edge of the village of the sick.  You can see your friends and family in the village of the healthy.  Although you can visit them frequently, your place is elsewhere.  Your life on the edge makes you a lonely figure in the world.... you can realize that time on earth is borrowed and must be eventually paid back.  This realization can make you more comfortable with yourself and give you the courage to confront the existential imponderables of being diagnosed with and treated for cancer."

"What the social psychologists say about social support, I thought at that moment, is largely true.  My brother's willingness to accompany me to my first treatment had meant a lot to me. I had appreciated the phone calls and cards I had received from family members after the diagnosis.  Their expressions of concern made me feel better.  Why is it, I wondered, that bad news and suffering often propel distant family members into proximity?  As I prepared for bed that night, though, I realized yet again that cancer patients-me in this instance-must live alone with a disease that their own bodies had produced.  It was, I realized, an exclusive relationship with oneself, a relationship that separated us even more from the people in our lives, making us more alone in the world."

Well said, Paul.


  1. Ahh, nothing like the restorative power of a long, hot bath! I'm so glad y'all put in that tub. And I love reading in the bath also!

    Nice book, good quotes.


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