Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ornery! Who, me?

Yesterday two of my favorite oncology nurses called me ornery. I would prefer thinking of myself as a fun loving smart ass. While I feigned that I had hurt feelings, I rather enjoyed being called ornery.  I have a long history of orneriness of which I am quite proud.
A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was busy checking out Christmas presents when no one was looking.

These brief exchanges with the nurses made me think of The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, where these two good people suggested that rather than asking how can we be happy, we should think of  how can we spread compassion and love...and that works for me.  According to them, there are eight pillars to happiness: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance which all come through the mind. Forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity come from the heart.

What they said about joyfulness struck a chord within me.  Since I first got my cancer schmantzer diagnosis, many people have expected me to be sad and depressed and decrepit, but that is not how I roll. When people ask me how I am,  I usually say that I am fine, and I ask how they are. I prefer to make other people smile and to look forward to my making some smarty pants quips rather than going off on a sad sack riff.

Of course, all is not lollipops and unicorns in cancer schmantzer land. Usually, the day after chemo is not a walk in the park, but I see no point in wallowing in being miserable over things which I have no control. My health care team is kind, and they see me as a person rather than as a diagnosis.  They have addressed all of the questions that I have had. Then I figure that it is my job to put one foot in front of the other and deal with whatever lies before me. I try not to anticipate consequences until I have enough information to know how to deal with what lies before me.  Right now what lies before me is one more treatment....and my hope is that my care team will tell me that I am good to go.

Of course, if I had my druthers, I would not have chosen this diagnosis or any of life's other hardships, but there are many things for which to be grateful in this odyssey.

Despite the constant hammering by the purveyors of dissent and discord about how we should dislike people who are not like us, I have found that most people have the same hopes and desires for their lives. However, many people would rather dwell on what is wrong rather than trying to figure out how to make things right.

My anger and angst are usually not directed at my health situation but rather at the injustice that I see being done to others. Perhaps being ornery isn’t so bad when I can turn it towards helping others and towards fixing situations that keep us away from working towards the common good.

I have a long history of being an ornery smart ass. Until I finish my quixotic mission to right all of the wrongs that lie before me, I am not about to hang out the crepe and quit any time soon.

Test driving the handicapped carts at the grocery store

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