Fi­nal words

The Walrus - - LETTERS -

In “The Re­al­ity of Fac­ing Cancer” ( the­wal­rus. Paul Adams chal­lenges myths about the psy­chol­ogy of cancer by weav­ing his late wife’s ex­pe­ri­ence with re­search show­ing that per­son­al­ity, fight­ing spirit, and pos­i­tive think­ing are not as­so­ci­ated with cancer on­set, pro­gres­sion, or sur­vival. Peo­ple with cancer, psy­chol­o­gists, and on­col­o­gists have all been draw­ing at­ten­tion to the dark side of this mes­sag­ing around those who sur­vive cancer. Adams adds an im­por­tant per­spec­tive that shows how the bur­den of pos­i­tiv­ity ex­tends be­yond the pa­tient to their loved ones, in­ter­fer­ing with the in­ti­macy that grows in re­al­ism.

Lu­cia Gagliese

Toronto, ON

Adams’s heart­felt and thought­ful ar­ti­cle about the of­ten un­help­ful cul­tural bag­gage ac­com­pa­ny­ing ter­mi­nal ill­ness spoke to me. I was the sole care­giver for my kid sis­ter when she was in pal­lia­tive care with ter­mi­nal en­dome­trial cancer.

Vis­cer­ally, I took ev­ery speed bump, such as a pain cri­sis or episode of vom­it­ing, as a de­feat. For­tu­nately, none of her friends, or mine, said any­thing about the power of the spirit tri­umph­ing against cancer or about how she was do­ing so well that she must be able to beat this.

Terry Mur­ray

Ot­tawa, ON

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