[cancer] A note on spoons

Several folks have asked about the spoons metaphor.

This comes from “spoon theory“, promoted by the lupus and MS and other communities of people with “hidden disabilities”. Basically, the idea is when you’re sick that way (or in my case, in post-op recovery followed by chemo), you can still do anything you want. You just can’t do everything you want. People in full health start their day with a very large supply of spoons, the spoons representing increments of energy or attention or focus, and spend them as they go through their days. People in limited health have fewer spoons. Simple things like taking a shower can take a lot out of a person, for example. So you wind up asking yourself questions like, “do I have enough energy to take a shower and to do a load of laundry?” Because you have enough spoons to do either but not both.

Chemotherapy definitely places me in spoon deficit. I don’t look like I have cancer. My face isn’t drawn, I don’t move in pain, I am my usual ruddy color. It’s easy to look at me and wonder why I’m walking so slowly, for example. But the spoons are still missing.

So my friends and loved ones have conspired to shower me with spoons.



That way I have extras, to move me through the hard times ahead.

Several folks have also asked how to send me spoons themselves. (Or cards, or knitted hats, or unmarked $100 bills, or whatever.) I guard my daily privacy in terms of my home address and so on, but I’m happy to receive packages and mail at my PO Box. So, herewith:

Jay Lake
PO Box 42611
Portland, OR 97242-0611
United States

And once again, thank you all. Later I’ll see if I can pull together a more complete assessment of the spoon gifting, and proper gratitude by name.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] A note on spoons

  1. Jaws says:

    I don’t think you’d like any spoons from my previous career… that’s the slang name for the spring-release-handle-thingy on old-fashioned fragmentation grenades. I certainly won’t send you any that are, shall we say, in unused condition… and still part of a “set.”

    Nope. Jay plus Genremobile plus chemo irritability does not need grenades added to the mix…

  2. Dawn B. says:

    I now must find a spoon for you. I love you so much and this post made me cry to know how loved you are.

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