Thursday, May 3, 2012

     Sometimes I am amused by how my battle with cancer changes my perspective.  I recently finished a novel, An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon.  Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that I read her, although I do have to say that her writing has improved over the years..and they have always been a good romp even if a bit light....

However, I thought I'd share this with you...I suspect that it reflects Ms. Gabaldon's viewpoints on the topic....The conversation is between Claire Beauchamp Fraser (a time traveler from the 20th century who was trained as a surgeon in the 20th century and continues to practice her craft in the eighteenth century after traveling through time) and Benedict Arnold (who was an apothecary in New Haven, CT prior to becoming the revolutionary war figure and eventual traitor).  Claire begins this conversation begun about a bottle of laudanum, an opiate available in the 18th. century):

"...But relief of pain is one of the more important things I can offer some of the people who come to me--God knows I can't offer many of them cure."
     His brows went up at that.  "That's a rather remarkable statement.  Most persons in your profession seem to promise cure to nearly everyone."
     "How does that saying go? If wishes were horses, beggars might ride;?" I smiled, but without much humor.  "Everyone wants a cure, and certainly there's no physician who doesn't want to give them one.  But there ar a lot of things beyond the power of any physician, and while you might not tell a patient that, it's as well to know your own limits."

"You think so?"  He tilted his head, regarding me curiously. "Do you not think that the admission of such limits, a priori--and I do not mean only in the medical way but in any arena of endeavor--that such an admission in itself establishes limits:  That is, might that expectation prevent one from accopmlishing all that is possible, because one assumes that something is not possible and therefore does not strive with all one's power to achieve it?"

I blinked at him, rather surprised.

"Well....yes," I said slowly.  "If you put it that way, I'd rather think I agree with you.  After all"--I waved a hand toward the ten flap, indicating the surrounding army--"if I didn't--we didn't--believe that one can accomplish things beyond all reasonable expectation, would my husband and I be here?" (serving on the American side in the Revolutionary War).

(Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone. New York: Delacorte Press, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, 2009.  ISBN:  978-0-440-338871).  Page 565.

So, what we can to alleviate pain, but don't sell yourself short.  Much in the world cannot be explained...including the tenacity that some of us have to hold onto life and to persevere even though the odds seem against us.  Each day is our own...each day we can chose to look backwards, or forwards with worry...instead, the trick is to claim each day unto itself and make the best of it that we every moment with whatever gusto we can muster.


  1. I am always amazed at your insight, Lisa. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with all of us out here. My brother-in-law has been diagnosed with Stage iv Kidney cancer and will fight with all that is within him to live. Your comments today, are very poignant to me, as I have been contemplating how I feel about my faith in God, and what the doctors are doing for my BIL. Plus, my BIL's feeling that he doesn't get the feeling God is calling him home. His wife feels the same. So, thank you, for your prospective, we must believe in life, move on with life, hold on to life and as you said with tenacity!!! You have been an inspiration for me in many ways, and there is a lot of gratefulness in my heart having you in my life,,even if we have never met face to face. HUGS

  2. Roni, I blush. I have waited to think of something to reply....but there is not much more to say than "thank you." Someday, I'll stop in and visit on one of my whirlwind trips...if I can get someone to leave a Montana pick up truck in the yard and I can see through the cracked glass and avoid the holes in the floorboards. ;)