April x 1000
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
5d ago
The Cloud of Unknowing It came again, this single day in April with its double whammy of cancerversaries: my initial diagnosis in 2013, brain metastases in 2015 (with lung mets that snuck in around September 2014). Eleven years with malignant melanoma in my life. Nine years with the creeping fear of brain tumors returning. My next scans aren’t for a couple of weeks. I could say I’m in that dodgy in-between phase that starts feeling heavier and heavier as scan day approaches, but to be honest, I don’t lose sleep over scans anymore. Scanxiety is in my rear view. At the risk of tempting fate, I j ..read more
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52
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
4M ago
A Good Seven Years, by Thomas Hawk on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons. Here I stand. Today I turned 52. Seven years ago, this was a milestone that I decided was worthy of a plan. The plan that would last seven years and leave me transformed into a productive artist, an accomplished translator, a well-read and agile and lithe middle-aged woman. I’m still a middle-aged woman, anyhow. It’s a very good thing that I realized somewhere around Year Three that planning has never been my strong suit. I think my poor skills at planning probably helped me when cancer struck three times in three y ..read more
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Making Me Understand: Life during wartime
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
5M ago
(Making Me Understand is an occasional blog feature where I analyze, in brief or at length, what a particular work of art or an artist means to me right now.) I have been feeling less and less allegiance to this blog, because it has a major flaw: it’s about cancer. And so little of my life is actually about cancer anymore. I guess I should just lean harder into the name of this blog, I’ll Live. Living is what I’ve been doing all this time, after all, though some days it’s harder to really sense that. I don’t have that particular zest for life that someone who is closer to mortal danger ha ..read more
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Cross-platform post (because it’s May)
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
Because now I can blog about melanoma in more than one place: https://blogs.gwu.edu/himmelfarb/2023/05/03/may-is-melanoma-and-skin-cancer-awareness-month/ Scans coming up on Friday. Scanxiety has arrived right on schedule. This morning ony way to work I reimmersed in the glorious gloom of “Spleen,” by Baudelaire (and its many translations). The weather hasn’t been very helpful this past week. But the forecast points towards sun, the hope is for another set of clear scans, and then Saturday is my 5K. Please contribute if you are able! Many thanks ..read more
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April 16, minus ten and minus eight
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
Ten years ago today I received a phone call from my dermatologist. He wasn’t calling to shoot the breeze. That phone call was my entry point to Cancerland. I remember getting up from my desk after the call, going to the front window that overlooked the street, seeing the Brooklyn trees starting to bloom, and thinking I might not see them bloom again. (Then I dialed J.) And this was eight years ago. Getting good news about my lungs when my brain was full of tumors (but I didn’t find that out until the next day). Like the specific pain of childbirth, the mind doesn’t want to let you remember eve ..read more
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Memory, and retail
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
Today is my parents’ 61st wedding anniversary. But many crucial variables have been altered since that date. The anniversary falls in midwinter instead of midsummer (they married in the southern hemisphere), and one party to the partnership is now underground. Still, it is a day to observe, and for my mother, to remember. The stories told about that day, and the photos, have become so much a part of family lore I can almost believe I was there. The reception, made infinitely more crowded because my journalist grandfather, feeling that he hadn’t been allowed to invite enough of his circle, prin ..read more
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51
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
I knew it was coming. Because of many extenuating circumstances, the day slipped by almost unnoticed. But I have arrived. I’m solidly in my fifties now. As I told a friend this morning, “I love the number 51. It’s so stealthy. Seems like it’s prime, but it isn’t. Kind of like me these days.” Har, har. Ushering in this particular year means that the coming calendar year brings a significant milestone for me: in April, it will be ten years since my initial melanoma diagnosis. When I was diagnosed, in 2013, things were maybe looking better for patients, but it was still a very grim reality to fac ..read more
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Welcome, sentient beings.
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
Doesn’t everyone do this at the dermatologist? Maybe you’ve read about me in the Washington Post? Everything I said is true. I don’t wish anyone the uncertainty I have been dealing with since I heard that my insurance company and my main source of medical care may break up. I thought they’d be together forever — but then, I feel like I’ve been hearing about lots of divorces lately. Welcome to my cancer blog. It has been my lifeline at critical times. Posting has fallen off quite a bit since my life has been in less immediate danger. But some of the steroid-addled posts of 2014 and 2015 may amu ..read more
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Making Me Understand: “Serpent at the Gates of Wisdom”
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
1y ago
(Making Me Understand is an occasional blog feature where I analyze, in brief or at length, what a particular work of art or an artist means to me right now.) I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. There have been enough gigabytes of text expressing the outrage we feel here in the United States about the disasters that Tr**p, that Toddler in Chief, wrought, both those disasters that were immediate and those delayed-action ones, like the recent spate of terrible Supreme Court decisions. I feel for Justice Jackson, just sworn in to a hostile work environment — an important and historic event ..read more
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Recalibration
I'll Live | Cancer is hard, but not the way you think
by illlive
2y ago
As above, so below (C&O Canal) We’re about to finish the calendar. I tend to reject the imperative to take stock of myself at this time of year, since I prefer to do that in the autumn when the Jewish new year rolls around, with its generous ten days to reflect (between the start of the year and the confirmation that you get to see it through). We aren’t up to very much over this holiday break. We were supposed to be traveling in Israel, a family trip that the pandemic has canceled twice now. Instead, we’re home and the sudden appearance of the omicron variant has us recalibrating again. A ..read more
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