Monday, January 24, 2011


It's really hard complaining about anything once you've had cancer, or once you've been a chaplain because you've heard all kinds of really sad stories that makes your complaint look pathetic and ridiculous.

So last Monday when I tripped while running and tore my hamstring, even though the pain was second only to breaking ribs, I felt like, "Oh, geez, well, it's not cancer," even though it meant I spent two days in bed lying on ice packs and gulping Aleve. And I could not sit down on anything. ANYthing if you get my drift. My doctor said, "It's because you're sitting on swollen muscles."

Swollen muscles. I got this image of a horse's rump that has been pounded by sledge hammers. "Hamstrings take a really long time to heal," he said. "A really long time."

So then on Friday when I woke up with chest cold that went up into my head I thought, "Hamstring tear and a bad cold. Well, it's not cancer."

But Sunday night was the last straw. I opened the towel drawer in the bathroom and there was a stack of gnawed towels and piles of RAT SHIT!!!!!

Yeah, yeah, I've had cancer and that sucks but RATS?!!!! I am so grossed out I can hardly stand it. We set a trap.

But the point of this post is that cancer kind of ruins guilt-free whining about the normal everyday things. But now that I think of it, being aware of the rest of the world sort of ruins it.

Maybe that's the point of awareness, to ruin our complaining, to realize that it is not really necessary to whine about anything. What percentage of the world share their daily lives with rats?

The trick is to laugh at yourself as you complain and then pray for the rest of the world.

Well, thanks for letting me work this out with you. I feel much better in all ways. And now I've got to get to that trap.


Sue H said...

Awareness sucks - I hate it when you can't complain. I just came across your blog - well actually I came across your book "It's not about the hair" first and than found your blog. My partner has breast cancer and just had her lumpectomy and four nodes removed today at Evergreen in kirkland. A friend suggested your book and I'm 3/4 of the way through it. It's been a good read. It's allowed me to see how all this might be affectng her, a different perspective and of course it's brought a new dimension to my struggle with Faith - so thank you - I think. We've dealt with rats - I think it's OK to whine a little bit about them.

Anonymous said...

I was given a copy of your book from Mark & Peggy C. We were dealing with the declining health of our 91 year old mother/grandmother. I was a nurse administrator then. Like you, I was terminated from this position after 29 years of service. I was passionate about my job and loved my patients! Unlike you, I have not not received the dreaded diagnosis of breast cancer. I did find a lump, saw the doctor and dodged the bullet. Shortly after my "near miss" my neighbor was diagnosed. She past away a few months ago, 2 years post diagnosis. Tonight, my 50 year old friend walked me to the door and told me she has stage III breast cancer. She has beautiful long hair and a beautifully built woman. She was heroic and strong. Her port was placed Friday and she was back to work with us today! She told me she hated to lose her hair! I told her I had a book for her! Your book is beautiful and it has helped me through very difficult times. Your words have inspired me, caused me to reflect, made me cry .........and made me laugh until I cried. Did I mention.....I'm a hospice nurse now. Thanks Debra. M

Debra Jarvis said...

You are welcome!