I’m Baaaaaa-ck!

Whenever I spend some time between posts, it’s often because I don’t have not much to write about, melanoma-wise. And that’s kind of the way things are now. My last scans in August were clean of active cancer and I feel pretty good. My scans are now scheduled every six months, so everything should be great, and they are, melanoma-wise.

I never forget about all the people who have not been as fortunate as I, melanoma-wise. I consider myself a lucky SOB for having such positive response to treatment and I can’t help feeling guilty whenever I feel sorry for myself or get down because of something in my life that isn’t so great. Survivor’s guilt, I guess they call it. I feel as if I owe it to all the people who are fighting against melanoma, and all those who lost the battle, to have a positive attitude overflowing with gratitude for my good fortune. I’ve been practicing gratitude. Every day when I wake up, I put my feet on the floor and thank the universe for another wonderful day (or at least the potential for another wonderful day). In all honesty, I cannot say that I carry that spirit of gratitude throughout the day. I frequently get down, or angry, or frustrated with things in my life or things in the world.

My life is pretty good. I have a new job which pays well and is challenging enough so I won’t get bored. My health, as I said is great. I’m married to a wonderful woman. What’s more to ask for?

Well, for starters, I wouldn’t mind if this whole pandemic thing just went away. Eighteen months and counting and it doesn’t seem to be letting up at all. People are still getting sick, people are still dying and people are still having to mask and social distance and treat their neighbors as if they are potential bio-weapons. Meanwhile, Lynn and I have curtailed a lot of activities. We see people less often, we haven’t eaten in a restaurant for the duration, nor have we sat in movie theater, gone to a museum, or done much of anything besides the basic necessary activities such as shopping and (for me) going to medical visits. My new job is mostly remote, but the few times I do go into the office I mask up and distance. It’s strange but I’ve only seen co-workers’ faces from the bridge of the nose up. Strange times.

We never had a lot of social contacts, but now we have almost none, at least in person. I recently got together with my brother, my sister-in-law, and my sister, but those get togethers are very rare. Mostly I feel very isolated. Part of that is because we have chosen to keep our interactions limited, but a lot of it is political.

I’m not going to go into all the reasons here, but Lynn and I have chosen not to get any of the Covid-19 vaccines at this time. Possibly never. This puts us at odds with most the political establishment, as well as with most of the members of our families. This saddens me because, at a time when we all should come together and support one another, we are divided and pointing fingers at each other. Many of the pr0-vaxers are calling the vaccine-hesitant irresponsible, anti-social, selfish, and inconsiderate. I don’t consider myself any of those things. I have doubts about the vaccines on offer, I’m not convinced that the protection offered by the vaccines is better than that offered by my own immune system. I’m not anti-vax, I’m just not ready to try my luck with these vaccines. That’s my judgment and I understand that, if I’m wrong, I could pay with my life, but it’s my life. As I said, we don’t go out much, and when we go out in public we mask up and distance. I don’t think that any vaccinated person is at a greater risk from me than another vaccinated person.

Anyway, I didn’t start this blog intending to write about the pros and cons of vaccination. Everyone should make their own decision on that. What I wanted to write about was the effect that the divisiveness in society has had on me. When I hear the President of the United States call this a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” that hurts me. When I fear that I may lose my livelihood if I continue to refuse the vaccine, that worries me. When I read about people assaulting each other over masking choices, that frightens me. I fear that we are heading down a path where people who make unpopular choices will be demonized and marginalized. I fear that too many people are not questioning things, not just the science around the vaccines, but the public discourse around how we live with each other in these challenging times.

Don’t blindly follow. Think, question, and above all, let’s be human with each other. Sheep are boring.

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