avivarubin's blog


I spent the week hiding in a corner of northern England, in the early 20th century.

Worry doesn't pay

My permanent part time job is to worry. I’ve held this position for over 30 years. On my resumé, I describe it as progressively responsible. I’ve moved up to management, and have an ever-growing number of people to be concerned about – two of whom I built myself, with worry in mind. Even people for whom I have no direct accountability have made it onto my roster.

Fear of an ending

I started. I started again. But I still don’t know where to begin. Now it’s ending, and I don’t know how to conclude.

The treatment, at least, is ending. Kind of. There’ll be maintenance chemo for two years.

The thing with cancer, with the cancer I have, I am told, is that it never really ends. People who’ve had it tell me to be prepared for it to come back. And even if it does end, you don’t know for sure that it has ended. The prospect of its return continues to weigh.

Do I need to hear spring blow in?

This was not the plan for today’s observations from Lymphomaland. I wasn’t going to be pissed off. I had worried and anxious lined up. But now, I’ll save those for tomorrow.

When things are really annoying and unfair, they need to be vented immediately. Im-mediately.

LIKE THIS FUCKING LEAF BLOWER across the street. (Writerly aside: how do you handle the conflict between saving the surprise for last, and burying your lead?)

Mess – The Hospital Anthology

I have a piece in this new anthology, published by Tightrope Press.

My Cancer Plate

The first time around, I worried incessantly about the incidental finding on the image of my brain, and what it might turn up: the unexpected dead mouse.

Stepping Away

Note: All you need to know about Proust is the part about time travel - a cookie, a little cake, or a coffee can take you back. Merci Ron Davis for the Proustian intervention.

In the middle of everything – everything being cancer, my kids, my house, a now relatively predictable routine of oncology and therapy appointments, chemo and post-chemoness - a TV location scout comes knocking. It's about a series, she says, that centres on a psychic single mom just out of prison.

Radiation - the full frontal attack

How many months ago was it that I was worried about a little radiation in the form of chest x-rays, CT scans and mammograms? Then how long before that was I anxious about simple x-rays at the dentist?

The sound of my greatest fears meeting my deepest desire

I’ve been terrified of getting cancer for decades. An unreasonable fear. There’s no history in my family. But cancer is familiar. It’s a popular theme that runs rampant through our cultural psyche. Our altruism and fears are cleverly tied up in its coloured ribbons. Until I got it - my own form that has no particular ribbon, I was able to choose when and if I wanted to notice its presence. I don’t get to choose anymore. It’s in my face.

Will Meditation Help?

I keep taking Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living to the bathroom with me. I know it deserves better.