June 13, 2007

Health and Happiness

How happy are we?

My friend Jeanne asked this most intriguing question on her blog The Assertive Cancer Patient. (Which, by the way, is worth a daily read. Jeanne is a terrific writer.)

I must agree with Jeanne: "I don’t think I would have experienced life during the past few years with the same degree of intensity and joy if I had not been diagnosed with cancer." But as much as the highs can feel higher, the lows can feel lower. I am in closer touch with my emotions these days. A beautiful sunset, a sentimental song, cuddling with my husband and dog can all make me tear up. On the other hand, the middle-of-the-night frights, when I think about mortailty, feel scarier than they used to.

Living on borrowed time puts one intensively in touch with life. I don't know if I am happier since I got cancer. But feeling everything so strongly gives life an edge that, like adding sea salt to finish a favorite dish, adds zest and piquant flavor to living.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:23 PM

    I feel like I don't have a choice. Cancer is here. My family and friends want to live in denial and consider this time in remission as my cure. It makes me crazy. They don't want to talk about it.
    I agree that I tear up about the sweetest moments like when my children are talking to me. They are so kind to give me a hug at such times and I feel understood.
    The smell of flowers, country air, the movement of life - I'm definitely more in tune with those things. Empathy for others is greater as well.
    I feel frustrated with my marriage because my sexual desire has diminished. I was always the aggressive one and it takes so much to get satisfied anymore. Not happier here.
    At work, I feel ambitious but unable to rise out of my entry-level spot. Is is because of my cancer? Or because I'm not competent or even my age (47). I don't know.
    I can't do the things I want because I have to work full-time for medical benefits. My husband's job is contract - no benefits. So - another not so happy place. However, work can be happy. I can feel a great sense of accomplishment one day and feel like a complete idiot another. At least it gets me out of bed.
    Cooking, dishes, gardening, within a short time cause back pain. That isn't happier.
    At times I feel a bit angry with God so I don't read my bible and then I wonder if I'm not happy because I'm not following the disciplines I've learned to be happy.
    I think I choose to pretend happiness so that my loved ones are comforted and often the act becomes a reality. But, would I give all the cancer back. You betcha!
    Beth in MS