Tag Archives: Narrative

The Overstayed Welcome

We all know — or we should all know — that lung cancer is one of the biggest killers in our society. With an estimated average of 433 people dying every day from some form of this disease, there is no question as to why it is considered such a horrifying diagnosis. Lung cancer kills more than any other cancer, and more than its three closest competitors in the cancer arena combined. If there were cancer cage matches, lung cancer would win virtually every time based on the sheer volume of its devastation and mayhem. Yet, in spite of receiving only a fraction of the research funding that other cancers get, a surprising number of treatments have emerged to help lung cancer patients outlive their initial prognosis.

But you have lung cancer! You’re expected to die. And, by the way, you’re expected to die quickly (and brutally). That is what the common narrative tells us.

Lung cancer treatment has made amazing bounds over the past decade. For a growing number of patients, living with Stage IV lung cancer is no longer an immediate death sentence, if a death sentence at all. For some of them, especially those diagnosed “earlier” in the Stage IV spectrum, while there are still a few months to alternate between treatments to find what works, or for those lucky enough to have an actionable mutation, even this advanced type of lung cancer can be treated as a chronic illness instead of a fatal one. Earlier and better diagnoses have led to younger and healthier patients having a chance to engage in this challenge before their cancer has beaten them down from within, and they have brought a new level of perseverance to the process. Continue reading The Overstayed Welcome

Over-Thinking Is a Bad Practice (But a Fine Profession)

There is a keen difference between having an analytical mind and a compulsory need to indulge in interpreting every detail of every event (or non-event) that one comes across. Too much effort spent on discovering the hidden nuance in a tossed-off phrase quickly gets in the way of understanding the moment. Treating life’s every-day occurrences as mini-conspiracies that must be revealed in full can cause the sort of mind-trap that prohibits an individual from being able to revel in the beautiful mysteries that life is actually throwing at us every moment. Sometimes, being able to let go of the need to “know” everything can actually open up a world of understanding, awareness and appreciation.

And then there are people like R. Salvador Reyes. An accomplished poet, he has spent some time on the observation of the minutiae. When I first encountered his fragile, emerging prose nearly thirty years ago, it was apparent that he was interested in deeper themes and unseen details. Continue reading Over-Thinking Is a Bad Practice (But a Fine Profession)