Monday, March 19, 2007

Cold hands, Warm heart

There is an expression "cold hands, warm heart" that my chronically cold-handed friend Matt used to say. I think this means that an icy exterior does not mean there isn't a kind person underneath. But since the oxaliplatin that I am taking has given me cold hands, I wonder what it has done to my heart?

I know that physiologically this stuff is horrible for my heart and there can be permanent damage, blah blah blah, but what does it mean for my metaphorical heart? Has the cancer, surgery and chemo made me a kinder person? In some ways, I think it has. I am more sensitive to people with a serious illness now - I know how to respond better to people telling me their bad news. I now know more clearly than ever that not I, nor anyone I know, will live forever and that makes my time on earth more precious.

In other ways it has made me meaner. I am more angry than ever at politicians and the stereotypical rich, white American. I wish I could have them all trade bodies with parent in India who is slowly watching their child die of starvation. I get mad at people for *not* being kinder. What kind of an oxymoron is that? I am mad at them for not seeing the light? That makes no sense. Maybe I'm just grumpy from feeling like ass for the last 9 months or maybe all that stuff about being universally kind is a crock.

There are so many kind people in my life that I just want to shower with happiness if I can. I know how good a heart can be. But since my diagnosis I am angrier than ever with the meanies. I used to think that an unkind person was just anxious or confused or hadn't grown into the wisdom that is kindness. But cancer has lowered my tolerance for this type of person.

Can it be that cancer has made my heart more unkind? Or is it that time seems short now and I don't have time for the selfish pricks of he world?

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