Cancer- to think or not to think, that is the question

Posted: 9 March 2013 in Cancer, Poems, Understanding Others
Tags: , ,
Consciousness
To think or not to think? That is the question.
Whether ‘tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of cancerous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against these troubles,
And by suppressing end them: to repress, to ignore
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To displace, to sleep.
 
Or must we give thought? The respect
That makes Calamity of so long an illness:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of ailment?
The Cancer’s wrong, the proud man’s humiliation,
The pangs of lost manhood, the physician’s delay,
The insolence of Specialists, and the Spurns
That the patient merits of the unworthy friends,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Denial? Who would his guts bear a weary life?
 
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of denial, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this conscious weight,
But that the dread of something after deflection,
The subterranean Subconscious, from whose realm
A Traveller does return, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than suffer the nightmares we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Heroes of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is strengthened o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
The enterprise of treatment and recovery,
With this regard their Currents are embraced,
And grasp the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Spouse? Grace, in thy Prayers
Be all my wavering be forgiven.

                                                                         (with apologies to Hamlet of W Shakespeare )

Everyone who suffers a serious, potentially fatal illness has to consider how far this is going to fill their minds. Like Hamlet, stricken with another type of ailment, the question is – is this going to fill by being? Or can I turn it off? In our cases – to repress, deflect, repress the thought and “sleep” through it all.

Yet. As Hamlet fears, there can be a fearful payback. In his case, judgement in the Hereafter. In our cases, repressed anxieties have a way of hitting back. Travellers back from the Subconscious realm.

So Hamlet resolves to do nothing, for the moment. In this version, instead we refuse denial, use our Conscious wills to tackle “The enterprise of treatment and recovery”, emboldened by a love(s), family and all we hold sacred.

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