Medical metaphors for closet English majors

Here’s an explanation on the dog reference from the last post:

Good doctors, I’ve decided, are like the good math teachers you had along the way.  The ones that could explain a problem, see a cloud over your head, and start over again, explaining it from a different angle.  Because in math, as in most of life, there’s more than one way to get to the same end point.  And it’s a bonus when a teacher can pull more than one explanation out of his or her goody bag, and get to the one that resonates.  Light bulbs over our heads are so much more delightful than more dark clouds.

I’m discovering that in the world of cancer doctors, there are lots of ways to give a patient some  little visualizations of what you might be dealing with, or how the treatment might work.  Good doctors have lots of them up their sleeves.  Here’s my favorite so far:

Cancers are like dogs.  There are so many kinds, how can that be?  Well, there’s the big ones, the little ones, the gentle ones, the fierce ones.  There’s the ones that start small and grow fast, there’s the ones that start small and don’t morph into bigger, more unpleasant versions of themselves.

Following the dog metaphor, here’s how my diagnosis evolved: Okay, so there’s something here we need to take a look at.  It’s little.  Really little.  A lap dog!  And we suspect we know how that lap dog will behave, because we know lap dogs.  Okay, so we’ll check your nodes, but honestly, it’s early, it’s small, fingers crossed.  Oh, hmm.  Lookie here.  Another lap dog, about the same size as the one we knew about, but hanging out there in your armpit.  Still, not big, not mean.  Not a pit bull.  But you’ve got yourself a lap dog that doesn’t behave as predicted. A lap dog that growls, let’s say.

So, that’s what I’m calling it.  My euphemism for this encounter with breast cancer is my growling lap dog.  I apologize to all of you out there who have lovely little lap dogs, and I mean no slight to your beloved pets.  But I am, as you may know, a cat person, so I suspect that’s another reason this visual is working for me.  We’re out to kick the crap out of my growly little lap dog.  Who, as my almost sister-in-law Niddy has already pointed out to me, had the temerity to get itself adopted into my life and pee in my shoes.  Yep, we’re out to send this creature packing.

When we get to hormone meds, there are more entertaining visuals.  I’ll save those for later.

Day 2, post my first dose of chemo, and I feel fine.  I’m not sure my raging against Lance Armstrong’s pathetic excuse of a confessional last night had to do with the fact that I hate nothing more than non-apology apologies (“I’m sorry you think that’s what happened” ARGH) or that, amusingly and ironically, I’m on performance enhancing steroids as I type.  I’m going to go ahead and say that using steroids in the service of keeping my body functioning as desired with the chemicals we’re throwing at it is what steroids are actually for.  Okay, I confess everyone’s doing it down at the oncology-hematology wing.  I wouldn’t want to get left behind, after all…and I guess that’s Lance’s excuse too.  Do with that what you will.

So, so far, so good.  I’m feeling so very much better than I thought I would today.  That is a blessing. I’ll take all blessings headed my way.

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2 comments on “Medical metaphors for closet English majors

  1. lisahsia says:

    HdP, Thinking of you every day. Maybe you should have been a double major — VES and English?! Well, right now as I chew on one of your homemade gingerbread cookies, maybe we could add culinary arts as one of your natural gifts as well.

    I just figured out how NOT to start on the “here we go” essay every time I look at the blog. duh – it’s a wonder how I survive in my current occupation.

    Check out Zick’s video on her blog about the “torpid bat” if you want to expand your fauna knowledge — Kai’s only watched it 3 times today. XO

  2. juliezickefoose says:

    Kai’s watchin’ the bat vids, picture me doing a Snoopy dance. Hey, Lisa–I just figured out how to find the new posts too! I kept coming back to the first one. Hodge, Phoebe and I tried to make your recipe of gingerbread cookies because we were desperate when we were done tearing each other limb from limb over the last teapot-shaped one. The dough kept sticking to the counter. So I kept adding flour. I even said, “Flour is our best friend.” Well. That has been quoted back to me several times. Ours tasted like dog biscuits, much to the delight of Chet Baker. And our frosting skills. Well. We finally just droozled it on randomly. The frosting was good, and we found that if we put enough on, the cookies tasted like dog biscuits with icing.

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