Friday, May 23, 2014

After Diagnosis

'Earth' photo (c) 2009, tonynetone - license: told me that your life splits into B.C. and A.D.   That's Before Cancer and After Diagnosis.

That's a tad melodramatic for me.  But the moment after diagnosis really is one when, all of a sudden, the world looks completely different.  Suddenly, going on with life as usual is no longer a possibility.  The default option is no longer an option.

Of course I still do have an option not to accept treatment.  I could say that the side effects seem too unpleasant, or that getting treatment shows a lack of faith, or indeed that the medical establishment is just out to make money by tormenting its patients.  But declining treatment would not magic me back to the world B.C.

No, even though cancer treatment is scary and unpleasant - even though it is full of uncertainties and probabilities - even though there is a huge amount we don't know - the right thing for me to do is to follow the best advice I can obtain, to take this journey through chemo and radiation.  Once I understand that the default option is no longer an option, it becomes clear that treatment - the fear-laden, disruptive option - is the right option.

The ancients made an analogy between the microcosm (the human body) and the macrocosm (the whole planet).  Seems to me that regarding human-caused climate change and environmental degradation, the macrocosm is also living in the period After Diagnosis.

The question is whether we are able to accept and act on the claim that "the default option (business as usual) is no longer an option."   Will we take the scary road to treatment?  Or will we keep trying to wish ourselves back to B.C.?


A couple of other pieces making the same analogy at greater length:
Image from

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