We finally bit the bullet as they say. (Incidentally, I do not know why people say this.) We went to go see 50/50 the "young adult cancer movie." Hoping desperately it would not be a weak over-dramatized experience that would both make me cry and be a bad movie, I was pleasantly surprised. My need to see myself in something was deeply touched. From the beginning scenes in which the unwitting, undiagnosed person finds something on their body and goes to the doctor assuming all will be well and then isn't, to the very last and extremely fitting scene, that wonders aloud about what comes next; it was funny and painful and good and just right.
It helped me see that despite how isolated I feel about this, everyone who cared for me suffered in their own way. Each person's pain or discomfort or worry was as unique as their relationship to me. It showed so well how overwhelming this all is, how hard it is to help even when you want to, and that everyone has their own way of giving and trying to be helpful.
Dayo and I both sobbed and then came home and cried some more. But we did it together in a way that I'm not sure we have before. We have some distance and a better appreciation for what the other has been through in all this. She described the movie well when she said, "it does a great job of evoking what cancer feels like," rather than what it looks like down to all the last details. It was also she who said, it shows how through cancer, "everything changes but nothing is different." I can't tell you how true this is.
Ironically what I disliked most was the 24-year-old therapist who should perhaps be a researcher and broke multiple ethical rules. I related to her in how bad I probably was when I saw my first patient (not that I broke ethical rules). I also related to how bad some of the very young therapists in the oncology department were. All clearly well meaning, but truly did not get "it" or anything close to "it," and did not appear to have the emotional resources to reach within themselves and find something to offer up.
My favorite scene is a very subtle one. The guy goes to the doctor, gets his diagnosis and as he leaves the hospital walking through the halls he is looking at people in a new way - as if the world is filled with all of them, and he's no longer one of them. He's crossed over into the land of the sick. There are no words, but it tells it like it is.
I highly recommend it.