The Illusion of Control

A copy of Cure magazine, another glossy, seemingly informative publication, greeted me in the waiting room at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute today. Cure is a more favorable name for a cancer education magazine than is Conquer, the magazine I encountered there last week. I confess, my mind is overactive; it sifts through nouns and verbs, seeking more appropriate titles for each of these journals. Obviously, I am not writing letters to the editor asking them to read my list.

Conquer implies that I am engaged in a battle over which I have no control. This is problematic, because cancer radically exposes us to the concept of randomness — like what is happening to me at a cellular level. I can’t control what is happening to my body and am banking on modern medicine to work its uniquely aggressive magic. I refuse to throw blind punches at this cancer.

The metaphor of having no control of my body right now shifts me towards an acceptance of randomness in so many aspects life. The illusion of control has been a coping mechanism I developed and subsequently relied on for many years.

For now, I am choosing surrender, believing that my body’s defenses are better served by embracing the fact that I cannot control what will happen.

The magazine title Cure at least suggests something very optimistic and positive, even if it is absurdly resolute about a certain outcome. To the magazine’s credit, its cover story, written in bold letters, is named The Vulnerable Zone.