Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My surreal life

My job sometimes has these incredible surreal moments. Things that feel like they are out of body experiences or just plan so strange that they must have been dreamed up by a Hollywood writer, but no they really happen.

Today, I was having a meeting with a mom whose baby is dying. We were talking about how there is nothing more that we can do for her and about starting to limit some of our treatments. The poor mom is devastated and alone because her husband is driving back from out of state where they live. Then all of a sudden the ground starts shaking, and only gets stronger. The poor woman grabs me with this look of horror in her eyes. "What else could happen today she asks" What else indeed...

There is no happy ending to this story except that the dad made it and didn't feel the Earthquake, and everyone else is OK. Another earthquake day in LA. I miss my school days when Earthquakes usually meant we got to go home early.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The other day I was at a friends pool party/ bar b que. It was the kind of party where I only knew the hostess and her family, but not the other people there. Fine, I can make conversation with just about anyone. After swimming with my ankle wrapped in an ace wrap to keep the sun off of it, I hid in the shade as the rest of me can't take too much sun either and unwrapped my ankle and settled down to interesting conversation and a glass of wine. Then this nice woman whom I had just met asks me what happened to my ankle. I was about to give one of my non-answers when my friend replied, she had cancer and thought for a little while she might lose her leg, but look at her now. This other woman then says, something like- Oh you're a cancer survivor that's incredible. To which I had to take pause.

Cancer survivor- not a label I apply to myself. The very term seems off to me. The whole concept of survivor is final- like there is a great battle and you survived it, or some natural disaster, or some other calamity. My point being an event which you live through and then it is gone, but I am not so sure if I see my sarcoma as that kind of an event, since I still have to get all of these scans every 6 months and every morning my ankle reminds me that it isn't normal. Plus, the concept of survivor is that you were in danger of not living- right? Well that is something, I never ever considered in this whole event. I worried about how disabled I'd be, how much pain, how much of my active life style I'd get back, but no I never thought that I was not going to survive this whole thing. Therefore, to me- it is no surprise that I am here in better shape than I have been in years. So what to do with the label. My normal response is to ignore such comments, but nonetheless it got me thinking. Am I just an eternal optimist or do people not really understand. I never saw myself as a cancer patient, so I guess it isn't shocking that I can't see myself as a cancer survivor. Am I in denial? Hmmm