Oh, it is so tempting! It starts out innocently enough. I've always said that knowledge is power, so simply looking up a term, or a procedure, or a pharmaceutical seems like a good idea and it certainly can be. But I start with a specific search and next thing I know I've clicked down the daisy chain of cancer-related sites, drifting far from my original inquiry, and finding myself shaken and horrified by a heretofore-unknown-to-me-something-new to worry about. There are so many dismal numbers out there... and the language of research is by definition so devoid of humanity that it can ring as unkind to a survivor facing whatever it is the research is addressing. And then there are the nutty sites --- the ones that provide dubious information because they are ultimately trying to sell something, whether a product or a political agenda. Some of these sites are immediately obvious, but some of them are pretty slick in their ability to create fear and doubt before revealing their true nature. So why do I do this to myself?
Well, I don't do it very often anymore. Occasionally I do, and I always regret it. I think that earlier on I had a secret hope of finding some piece of information that might transform my experience in some miraculous way. Or perhaps sometimes I think it might ease my anxiety to know all the potential negative outcomes so I can be prepared for them should they occur (yeah, that never works). Whatever the reason, it isn't helpful.
So now that I've been at the business of survivorship for a while, I know to limit my searches to trustworthy sites, and I know to stick with my original search terms. While knowledge is power in many cases, it is not always so.
I wear a lot of hats in life, encompassing a variety of roles and relationships. I am becoming more comfortable with the whole "cancer survivor" hat, even finding silver linings in unexpected places --- like adding artist to my self identity. "Blogger" hadn't really appealed to me until I began getting requests to talk about what lies behind my art. So I'm going to give it a try. If you have gotten to this page, you have probably noticed from my paintings that I am quite frank about my experiences. Some of the images are stark and difficult to look at. To me, beautiful is not the same as pretty. "Beautiful" encompasses complexity that can include pain, tragedy, and darkness. Therefore there can be a strange beauty present in stark emotional and experiential truth. I am a seeker of beauty within pain, and of the beauty that grows out of pain. If you are too, we'll get along just fine.