Monday, July 17, 2017

Doctor Who and Cancer

It' s been a busy week. Little time for reading and writing about cancer.

But I did catch the news yesterday that there will be a new lead on Doctor Who.

If you aren't a fan, Doctor Who is a British science fiction TV series that started over 50 years ago. The main character, The Doctor, can travel through space and time, and so goes around the universe saving people (and non-people) whenever there is trouble. (That's not a great description, but I think it's as accurate as you can get in one sentence.)

When the series started in the 1960's, the lead actor got sick and had to quit. The show was popular, so the people in charge decided that the character would have a unique feature -- instead of dying, he would regenerate, coming back to life as a completely different person (or, at least, different looking, since he was still The Doctor, with the same past -- or future, since he can travel through time). It was a smart move, since it allowed different actors to play the same role. It's a big reason why it's been on TV for more than 50 years.

The big deal about the new Doctor is that, for the first time, the character will be played by a woman, Jodie Whittaker. There has been talk for a few years about this possibility, and a lot of people were (and are) upset about it. The Doctor has always been a man. But, since the character can regenerate into any person, there is no reason why (other than tradition) he can't take the form of a woman.

Now, I generally avoid controversial topics, and among Doctor Who fans, this is about as controversial as it gets. But I'm going to come out and say (for those of you who are fans of the show, and who care) that I am in favor of the new female Doctor.

And for those of you who aren't fans of the show, you may want to care anyway.

You don't need to read Lympho Bob for too long to understand that I am forward-thinking. By that, I mean that I look forward to the future. The past is done. The present is important. But the future is where the real fun is. You know I get excited about pre-clinical trial research -- treatments that might not be available for another 10 years. That's fun to me.

And that's what Doctor Who is all about -- what comes next. Not just because The Doctor can jump ahead to the future, but because he (or she) can become someone completely new. He (or she) can regenerate.

One of the questions that has always fascinated me as a cancer patient has been, If cancer changes us, then who do we become? Do we really change? Does all of us change? Or just part of us? And is it change for the good? And how much of that change to we control?

I do think part of us changes, though probably not all of us. And I do think we can control that change, or at least a lot of it. And if we want it to be a good change, then we can make it that way. And because, for many of us, Follicular Lymphoma is a disease that will stay with us for a long, long time, we have that much more time to think about the changes we want to see.

So I'm all in favor of the new, female Doctor. She represents the kind of change -- and hope -- that I have come to look forward to as a cancer patient.

(Did I mention that The Doctor is all about Hope? The new Doctor even mentioned that when it was announced that she would play the role: "It's more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can't wait." She gets it.)

So I can understand the fans of the show who don't like the change. But I also know that, as a cancer patient, change is unavoidable, and very often good. And even if we can't control the things that change, about us or the world or about the things we love, we can certainly control the way we react to it all.

And as often as I can, I choose excitement, anticipation -- and hope and regeneration.


And thanks, once more, to all of you who voted for me for the WEGO Health Awards. You're the best. The voting will go on until September. I will keep you updated.


pcrat said...



Lymphomaniac said...

Turn and face the strange.....

Popplepot said...

So love this Bob your art and craft of taking a moment in time apparently completely unrelated to our situation and making it so relevant to our situation. My hope is in the future and I pray and hope one day we may be graced with the words " I think we can cure this " that I believe is not a fantasy but a real reality. Thanks again Bob enjoying my caravan on the nort down coast of Northern Ireland 17:54 as I post the tide is breaking on the beach the sun is high 26 degrees and I'm with the Ines I love.🙂❤️🙂

Lymphomaniac said...

Thanks, Popplepot. Sounds like you're having a great day. I'm glad.