In a State of Rebellion

Massachusetts has always been known for its rebel rousing nature. As a history teacher, I get to talk about it all of the time. Massachusetts was the heart of the revolution against Britain and for the decade prior to our American independence, we pretty much earned the name trouble makers. We hosted the tea party after all and cost the British East India Company millions. Massachusetts has come a long way since 1776, but its rebellious spirit is still in full swing – evidenced by the Women’s March in Boston, Greenfield, Northampton, Pittsfield and others on January 21. Massachusetts is certainly a state of rebellion historically and in the present. The goal of rebellion is to demonstrate resistance of some kind. At this current juncture, the goal of rebellion on a political note is to denounce hateful rhetoric, hurtful legislation that hinders the livelihood of men, women, and children of all race and creed, and to demonstrate our democratic protected right to protest. So I am thankful to have been born and raised in a trouble making state like Massachusetts who has chosen the path of resistance and takes pride of being in a state of rebellion.

However, I am not as thrilled with my current state of rebellion, I would much rather have been marching on the Commons or at the very least helping to organize the next unifying event or at least rallying against the repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) considering its repeal may mean I am denied coverage by future employers for my pre-existing cancerous state, that clinical trial options may be denied, or that I have to win the lottery to pay for my treatments because I will hit the lifetime cap sooner than expected. But, instead my state of rebellion is a physical and not political one. The other evening, my friend Tammy and I were watching the Lifetime version of Beaches (probably not the best choice of movies for a Thursday after chemo but I’ve been known to make a poor choice or two in the past) when Nia Long’s character Hillary emphatically claimed that her bestie CC played by Menzel couldn’t possibly understand how it felt to live in a body rebelling against you. I know how it feels and have for a long time. I know exactly what it is like to live in a state of rebellion. You feel betrayed or at least I do. You are given this one body to live in and granted I certainly could have taken better care of it, but you expect it to at the very least hold up. No one at thirty two thinks the unspecified set of symptoms they are dealing with is cancer. No thirty something year old imagines that their cells are mutating at every turn allowing cancer to take over the movement. No one envisions being held hostage by a life threatening disease unless they’ve been there and done that. Well as someone in that position, it sucks. And in response to treatment, your body launches new waves of revolt. I rarely dealt with side effects, thankfully, my first five treatments…but this one is not like the others. It has launched a rebellion on a multitude of fronts – mouth sores (although they have reminded me of my love of smoothies), painful red blotchy skin on your hands and feet (which have led me to begin testing which moisturizers I like best, the verdict is still out), and even a never seen before (by my oncology team in Pittsfield) freckle pigmentation rash from the doxil. Awesome! (I can say I honestly never worried or even thought to consider freckles in the winter.) All of this shall pass as will the drop in white counts. But it does bare notice that a body in rebellion is not a happy one. I hope the chemo over throws the cancer and the stem cell transplant finalizes the last step in the coup, freeing me from my hostage situation with Hodge. Now that’s a rebellion I can get behind. And it may come sooner than expected, since I was informed yesterday that they have found a donor match for me! So when the stars align (I have a PET to see if this treatment will bring to the allogenic transplant or if I need to try something else), I will be transplant ready. Until then, I’ll let my state of rebellion be one that I work to control and hope that that the country finds a way to use their rebellion advantageously as well.


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