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Book Club: Mom’s Marijuana, pages 210-229

kayak on lake

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading Mom’s Marijuana by Dr. Dan Shapiro! Catch up on pages 1-20, pages 20-40pages 41-59, pages 60-80pages 80-106, pages 106-125, pages 125-148, pages 149-181, and pages 181-210.

Let’s get started!

pages 210-229.

So, I have to be honest here – I haven’t been reading, and I didn’t get past page 13 when I started the book on the day of delivery. I thought I was going to be super excited to read this but as I was reading the first pages and it was going over the details of Dan’s diagnosis, I found myself increasingly anxious. I felt the same way when I started to try to watch Breaking Bad too. Needless to say, I think I am experiencing a little bit of PTSD hearing about other people go through their own diagnosis. I think it’s pretty hard to admit that to myself and to be okay with it, but in time, I’m sure this will subside.

Moving on to my portion of the discussion – pages 210 through 229 – I was actually quite captivated! I was really excited that I found this reading interesting to me, especially after my first failed attempt!

First of all – I LOVE that it started out with him kayaking! I just had a very recent evening with First Descents in Washington DC where we went kayaking. I had never been before and when Dan was describing his guide being so sure of the outcome after he faced the rapids, it really reminded me of all the people involved in FD. No matter who I speak with that is involved with that particular organization, I always feel like they are truly “out living it” both in regards to life, and cancer. Everyone welcomes you with open arms, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to just accept my life the way it is. I’d even go as far as to say that I might actually be pretty happy with this life I’m living these days. This quote from the book especially stood out to me, “Open your mind to the possibility that you’ll arrive safely downstream. There might be foam on your edges, and a terrifying sound that eclipses every thought, but you won’t capsize. Rider her out. Just ride her out.

There was another section that made me chuckle on page 216. Dan was talking about his parents and I’m pretty sure he was actually talking about mine… “She and my parents spent hours wandering the aisles, my mother carrying a copy of Consumer Reports with pictures of car seats and bottles and portable cribs and diaper disposal vaults. My father pushed a cart behind her, making quiet suggestions and occasionally shaking a selected item to test its sturdiness.” My mom definitely wears the pants and does most of the consumer reports investigating. My dad is a great assistant – always ready to take over and be on duty, or there for the assist!

One last thing I wanted to comment on was on page 224. “When I was in treatment I was often dependent for social contact on the people around me. I needed them to see me as more than a cancer patient and I wanted to see them as more than interchangeable technicians.” I found this to be remarkably similar to my experience as a patient. I was ALWAYS trying to talk up my doctors, nurses and techs in order to be “more than just a cancer patient” to them. I wanted to be seen as a person instead of a disease. I didn’t want to be just a number to someone, another woman in on a Tuesday for her chemo. I wanted my personality and interests and life to be important to Julie, and Tanya and Maria. The more I think about it now, the more I realize that I STILL strive to do that. I take the extra moment to hold the door, compliment the cashier’s earrings, and say “thank you.”

Overall, I’m glad I got back to the book and was able to connect with these few pages. I’ve noticed an overarching theme in this small section which aligns very closely with how I’m living my life right now. I’ve learned to stress a little less, stop to smell the roses, and appreciate time, whether it’s moving fast or slow. I’m very happy I can step back and find so much value in learning something new about my coworker or doing the dishes for my mom. I know a lot of people can agree with me when I say that I didn’t want cancer, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I would never change a thing. Cancer has made me a better and more appreciative person.

– Christine S


Join in next Monday for comments and discussion on the next 20 pages of the book!

Thanks for joining us for pages 210-229 of Mom’s Marijuana by Dr. Dan Shapiro!  Join in next Monday for the next 20 pages of the book!

If you’re just joining us, here are some logistics:

The chapters and sections of this book are organized differently than in a book we’ve read together before.  So instead of going chapter by chapter, we’ll go about 20 pages at a time each Monday. We’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss.  Join in, in the comments every week!  At the end, we’ll have a book club discussion via video chat!  Also, there will probably be spoilers.  Read along with us!

How are you enjoying our young adult cancer book club?