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Showing posts from July, 2016

Looking beyond cuteness

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Every time I meet a new baby the sequence is the same.

“Oh look,” I say, raising my eyebrows as I gently tickle the infant’s tummy with my index finger, “isn’t this baby…” And then I pause for a second, restraining myself from inserting the usual adjective. “Isn’t this baby bright,” I utter, praising any eye contact the baby can achieve and even just the ability to limit its own dribbling, if that’s what it will take to establish my contention that baby is, indeed, bright.

I know I’m kidding myself, but I just can’t make myself offer the usual praise for a baby – isn’t this baby cute?

Now that I’m the father to a newborn – 12 weeks old and going strong – I’m as tempted as most other parents to offer up that usual description whenever I’m asked about my daughter. Sometimes I hold back, but often I yield to it.

Why do I dislike “cute” so much? To me, “cute” is a celebration of docile conformity. Cute is cherubic cheeks and fluttered eyelashes. Cute is knowing one’s place in the world ra…

Out the other side

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“So, does that mean we’re in remission?” asked my wife hopefully.
“Well,” said my haematologist, leaning back in his chair thoughtfully, “yes, I guess so.”
Exhale. And so it was that I found out I had beaten cancer, with a whimper rather than a bang.
It was a suitable bookend to my experience in October, when I found out my body was afflicted with this wretched disease with a rather underwhelming encounter with a distracted doctor.
It had been about six months since I’d felt the effects of the lymphoma, and three months since the last of the chemotherapy washed through my body. I knew there was a fair chance I was in the clear, but it’s very comforting when that observation is made by a medical professional with a PET scan of my body at his fingertips.
As the doctor explained, it doesn’t mean that the mass in my upper chest has disappeared entirely, but that the tumour that does remain is small and innocuous. Those cells may never disappear from my body entirely. A further PET scan…