Friday, August 28, 2009

paper Gown Book Club #3

Hey Guys,

This week, as you may recall, I decided to read an article that was mentioned in last week's book - "Mortality Can Be a Powerful Aphrodisiac," (also published as "Sex and the Sickbed") by Jennifer Glaser for The New York Times. The article ended up being a lot more moving than I had expected - very different from the humor that I've been trying hard to stick to so I don't worry anyone too much. Before I go on, I want to put a little bit of a disclaimer (especially if you haven't read the article yet): This article IS pretty depressing. But, as funny as I try to make things, cancer is kind of depressing sometimes, and everyone isn't as lucky as my family has been. I guess you all probably know that, though.

Back to the article. I thought Jennifer Glaser wrote "Sex and the Sickbed" BEAUTIFULLY. The way she described her relationship with her boyfriend (who remains unnamed for the totality of the essay) is so real and so intense, even though she doesn't go into any gushing romantic detail about him at all. Instead, she gives short glimpses into incredibly personal and meaningful anecdotes that do more to describe a relationship than any outpouring of affections could. She paints a picture that, in some ways, makes me wish I was in a relationship right now - but in the end, after reading her descriptions, makes me also incredibly happy to not be in one. As mostly good as I feel a majority of the time, sexy is usually not what I'm feeling, even at my best. Sometimes I feel pretty glamorous, especially when I have on crazy makeup accompanying my baldness, but also sometimes I feel the complete opposite. It's also kind of hard to feel sexy with a port - if I were in any kind of "romantic" situation (sorry, Mom and Dad... and Grandma...) I can't even imagine what that would do to the mood!

I like how honest she is about keeping sex as a part of their relationship even as her boyfriend was getting sicker - a constant that they could always rely on even as everything else was changing. I like even more how she doesn't, as she says the eulogies did, praise his intellectual and emotional aspects, but instead she praises his physicality - which is what the cancer took from him most of all. It's something people rarely think about.

I'm having trouble writing as much about this essay as I'd like - not because it's emotionally hard, or upsetting me at all - quite the opposite. I've been extremely moved by Ms. Glaser's essay, and I'm not quite able to put into words exactly how I feel - mostly, I think, because it's not really something funny that I'm trying to say. I'm used to turning almost everything I write on here into some kind of humor to keep myself upbeat and to keep all of you guys as unworried as possible. However, this essay was so fantastic in an unhumorous way that I can't really figure out what to say. I guess you can all read on your own and see what I mean.

What do you think?

Next week, I'll be heading back into the "upbeat" territory with Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr - it's the book that accompanies the 2007 documentary... Definitely check this one out, I've heard some amazing things!

Lots of Love,


  1. wow, its a great article. my hards are itching to grab a copy of it. :) have a lovely day


  2. This is lovely. If I were writing a poem about it (which I am not) I would think of a way to compare what you describe as something like "forcing" a plant--that is, these ideas are gritty, true, and wise--and they belie your youth. It's so great that you are keeping a blog. I was lucky and my cancer was only a scare (albeit, it required major surgery and months of angst and more). At that time, I was much wiser than I am now--funny how quickly we "just forget" what it feels like. Thank you for being so frank. [this is not necessarily for posting--I work in the Con at BW and I'm cheering for you]

  3. I am reading Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips right now! It's awesome! :)

  4. Keep the positive attitude. You have a really cool blog :)

  5. General comment. I'm about on the same schedule you are with Hodgkins. Diagnosed in April of this year. About to have treatment #8 of 12 tomorrow. Hope your results go to plan (remission, remission, remission).