Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poor Sport

I'm alive. Leukemia remains absent. Chemotherapy is ever so present, but tolerable, apart from the weirdness. Weird things happen when you are regularly poisoned. Well, perhaps weird things always happen, but on treatment they seem weirder. Currently, my legs are on strike. I hobble about like an old lady; my grandfather's cane has been called into action. A few days ago, my left shoulder and ribs spontaneously began to ache as if I had broken a rib, and...wait. This is starting to sound like the diatribe of the unwell. What's the use? Sometimes I feel fine. Sometimes I don't. As Randin puts it, I'm the 75-90% Brandi. 272 days to go. I made a t-shirt to celebrate.

Randin and I love the movie Galaxy Quest (IMDB, Netflix, Amazon). Its catch phrase "Never give up! Never surrender" has been on my mind since aunt Margie died. I like it when they say it, and yet I don't like it when I try to apply it. 

Margie asked me if I thought she was giving up because she decided against the chemotherapy that might have prolonged her life another month. I said, "Hell no! Had I understood what I would endure, I wonder if I would have agreed to it. And that's with the hope of a cure at the end of the tunnel, not just one more month of living!" 

Here's the deal with being a cancer patient: your experience is almost always framed as winning a battle. I'm telling you, this kind of language is not helpful—to have a winner you have to have a looser and so many equate dying with loosing, and living with winning. Is dying gracefully loosing? Is living miserably, at any cost, winning? Life is a game, I'll give you that, but the board is far more complicated than start and finish. We all die, so the finish line always death. That doesn't equal anything, death is simply a word for the unknown.

Somewhere I learned the adage, "It's not whether you win or loose, but how you play the game that counts." and I must really believe it. The outcome (living/dying, winning/losing) is irrelevant if the quality of your playing is what you value. When I'm dead, as far as I know there's no longer anything to worry about, and while I'm alive, I'm not dead so there's nothing to worry about. With nothing to worry about, what do I do with all my spare time?

Apparently, I use my spare time to think about "Never give up! Never surrender!" 

Back in the summer 2009, when the game was beyond weird and I was playing as 0-20% Brandi, and it looked like I might loose, I tried to give up. I didn't try very hard mind you, but I did beg for the game to be over, or for the rules to change, or for a different game. I waited, and waited, and nothing; the game was still on and I was coming off as a poor sport. Eventually, I surrendered the notion of giving up, accepted the game I was playing, adapted my moves to compliment the energy and strength available to me. 

Aha: "Never give up! Always surrender!" 

To surrender is to accept what is, to not give up is to act in alignment with it.

1 comment:

Beej said...

hey B!
Lovely... "To surrender is to accept what is, to not give up is to act in alignment with it." - To Surrender is to Accept the way the Current is Flowing and THEN not giving up is choosing to Co_create with the Flow in a life affirming way, even though it feels the opposite and must feel like swimming up river.. I love you and miss you! See you in June???
Love,
B