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Beautiful meditation on time from a cartoonist with metastatic breast cancer

Beautiful meditation on time from a cartoonist with metastatic breast cancer

The writer and artist Teva Harrison wrote a graphic-memoir of her experience with metastatic breast cancer, and it's so beautiful and profound I wanted to share it with you here.

She also gave a talk on her experience that was transcribed on her blog. I really recommend reading it. Here's a sample:

"And when treatment began, I tried to work, but being a cancer patient can be a full-time job, and I hadn’t yet learned how to balance the pace of the office with the greedy patience required by the hospital.

So I had to let work go.

And I was cast adrift. Out of time. I was untethered to most of my former life. Holding on by a thread to my husband, my home, my need to continue to exist.

And that’s when I stepped sideways and existed outside of time, as we know it, for a while. I drifted in a Netflix-haze through entire seasons of The West Wing. Day would turn to night, and I’d only shower and get dressed if I had to go to the hospital. My husband would leave for work and come home, and I’d be exactly where he left me on the sofa, lost in some vampire space cop show. I slept through entire days. I cancelled plans and nobody complained.

You see, when you’re really sick, nobody is going to push you to do anything. Nobody makes you get up and go outside. People are very gentle.

So when I realized that I might only have a couple years left and I’d just wasted a couple months wallowing, I started to panic. A sense of urgency burnt through me like a wildfire: I had to start making the most of whatever time I had left, because the median survival time for my late-stage disease is 3 years from diagnosis...& I was wasting time.

At least that’s how I felt.

Of course I know that grieving isn’t a waste of time, and grieving oneself is poorly-charted territory, but I felt like I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t do something.


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