Today is a day I feel like writing – not merely one when I am looking forward to having written, but rather one when I am interested and motivated by the process. The situational gods have been aligned: I have time on my hands, an empty house with peace and quiet, and adult cats who are a sleeping and a kitten who is blissfully asleep (not always the case). Unfortunately, I don’t have anything particularly insightful to “prose” about. But I will persevere, as the opportunity with which I’ve been presented rarely presents itself, and certainly not nearly as often as literary pursuits might require – for me, anyway.
Oddly enough, what I think I’ve found is, as a writer, prattling on about nothing – as I have in the first paragraph, is sort of an exercise in mind stretching (not futility) – akin to when athletes maneuver themselves into awkward-looking, pre-game warm-ups. The act of writing something, mildly coherent but not necessarily on any particular topic, sort of warms me and my synapses up as well and hopefully gets them firing on enough cylinders so that what words are eventually written are words worth reading. (No comments from the peanut gallery, please?)
I imagine you regular readers are probably wondering how I cold possibly relate the content of these initial paragraphs to my stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis (a fact with which you all are excruciatingly familiar), or if this week’s column might possibly avoid the subject altogether – for once, as perhaps cancer-fatigue may have finally set in. After all, too much of a good thing can be too much, as it has often been said. Moreover, too much of a bad thing then (and being diagnosed with terminal cancer certainly qualifies as a “bad thing”) can likewise be way more than “too much;” it can be, as my mother so often said about so many subjects/circumstances: “Enough already!” (I’m almost finished.)
The point of these “cancer columns,” as I call them, is not to bring anybody down emotionally/make anybody miserable (least of all, me); in fact, there is no point. I’m simply telling a story – that I’m able to tell in a reasonably intelligent and unflinching way, about the trials and tribulations of being a lung cancer diagnosee, not because of who I am (hardly), but rather because of what I have. Cancer is a killer and since I’ve been fortunate to still be a “liver,” – in spite of the odds, predictions, presumptions, statistics, etc., 45 months post-diagnosis, continuing these cancer columns weekly as I do, seems more like a success story than a failure. Ergo, writing about cancer reinforces to me all the positives – even while occasionally writing about the negatives, and the more positives I can infuse into my own life, the healthier I’ll likely be. So please indulge my writing these cancer columns, as they have probably contributed to my above-average, better-than-expected, life expectancy. Given how much longer I’ve lived than my original prognosis: “13-months to two-years,” I don’t see any reason to stop now. My future is ahead of me, not behind me.