I love Emily Dickinson. She was my first great poetry love, and I read her poems with a feverish passion that only adolescent girls can muster. I memorized a ton of her poems, some on purpose, and some just by re-reading them so frequently. The one usually at the tip of my tongue is 1263:
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
That’s what I recite when I’m stressed or unfocused or just need something else in my head. During radiation, I’ve recited that a TON. It’s always there anyway, and now I’m relating it to radiation.
I’m getting all the radiation, but a little at a time. I /could/ get radiation all at once; that’s how they did it 100 years ago. Now we know that we can get the same good effects with many smaller treatments instead of one big one. It’s the same thing, just slant, just tweaked a little bit.
“Success in Circuit lies:” none of this cancer nonsense has felt straightforward. I have very good doctors and a great care team, but as a patient, all of this is NOT clear. It can’t be. I’ve never done this before. It feels like stumbling around in the dark, and the GODDAM REPETITION. Chemo SO MANY TIMES and dealing with the side effects OVER AND OVER. Radiation EVERY (week)DAY. It feels like I am doing the same thing over and over because, right now, I am. But “success” is the important part of that, not the circuit.
Also, I’m glad I’m learning about cancer little by little. We can only hold so much information, and right now, I’m holding my radiation information. I purposely have done that throughout treatment, and good doctors will encourage you to do this: the next step is future me’s problem. If it’s not right now, don’t deal with it now. CANCER is too much all at once, but the step I’m in right now… that I can focus on. That I can deal with.