Cancer Reminds Me I’m Liminal.

April 24, 2024

Cancer Reminds Me I’m Liminal.

May 29, 2023

I thought I graduated from Cancer School on January 12 when I rang the bell after 36 sessions of radiation. Three days later, I was on Good Morning, America. A day after that my book came out. And, the day after that, I was blowing air kisses to Hoda on The Today Show set. I felt surprisingly remarkable as ending the radiation and being off my hormone depletion pills gave me such a spurt of energy.

But, then, in early February, I was back on the pills and my doctors tell me they won’t really know if my radiation was effective until later in the spring when they can see where my PSA blood test results stabilize and they do a PetScan. They tell me that my groin is a jumbled mess now (I know as I still have so much swelling there) and it should be better soon. They say they want to get me down to a non-detectable status, but - at the present time - my PSA is saying I still have cancer in my body, even after my prostate has been taken out, I’ve had three dozen radiation sessions and I’ve been on ADT, Androgen Deprivation Therapy, for more than a year. Geez!

Suffering through a chronic illness is the textbook definition of liminality, being in transition. It’s frustrating not to know whether I’m transitioning to a better state of health or a worse one, but I’m also realizing that this form of stability in the messy middle - full of uncertainty - isn’t the worst situation. In this health study, medical researchers found that those with cancer have to acknowledge that they are part of a new, liminal club - cancer survivors - while also feeling like it’s hard to communicate about this experience to those who aren’t survivors. I’m doing my best to address that here. 

The researchers write, “We believe that all cancer patients enter and experience liminality as a process which begins with the first manifestations of their malignancy. An initial acute phase of liminality is marked by disorientation, a sense of loss and of loss of control, and a sense of uncertainty. An adaptive, enduring phase of suspended liminality supervenes, in which each patient constructs and reconstructs meaning for their experience by means of narrative. This phase persists, probably for the rest of the cancer patient's life.”

Damn, I thought I’d graduated from my Stage 3 Cancer School. You mean I have to be in this liminal state - is it spreading or not - the rest of my life? On the one hand, this frustrates me as my “I don’t have time for this shit” mentality kicks in. Doesn’t Cancer understand that I’m trying to create a better world…or at least a better life for mid-lifers? And, then, I kick-into a very different mentality. When I have less clarity about how much life I have left, I value every moment a little bit more. I’m pretty confident I’m going to get to the other side of this, but I sure hate the side effects of my ADT.

Thanks for being on this journey with me as many of you have asked about my status and I wanted to give you an update. Liminality sucks but, on the other hand, liminality is life…and liminality means you’re still alive. Love to y’all. 

-Chip

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 to 
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 to 
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A Lifetime of Women’s Wellness: Thriving through Transitions with Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz

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 to 
June 29, 2024
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Navigating Transitions with Barb Tint & Jeff Hamaoui

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 to 
Jun 29, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Navigating Transitions with Barb Tint & Jeff Hamaoui

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 to 
June 29, 2024
Baja, Mexico
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Navigating Transitions with Christine Sperber

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 to 
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Navigating Transitions with Christine Sperber

July 1, 2024
 to 
July 6, 2024
Santa Fe, USA
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