Maybe you didn’t realize it when I named this blog a year ago. Maybe I didn’t realize it. “I’ll Live,” after all, was meant to be a wry comment on my health situation. A dismissal of it, with a shrug and a half-smile. But it turns out it was also a prediction – and, thus far, one that seems to be holding up pretty well. I have my doctors and nurses to thank. Well, I could thank my immune system and various enzymes in my body for cooperating (for the most part) with my treatment, but the body doesn’t speak human language. It takes its thank yous in, like, kale and exercise. More of those things coming soon! Promise!
When you seek to cast a thank-you net you find it expands infinitely, it widens, and eventually encircles more and more AND MORE people, until before you know it, it catches nearly everyone you’ve ever met, and they’re all looking at each other in a bewildered way. Such has been the nature of communicating cancer via blog. People who would never talk to each other in an elevator are drawn together by what I write here – equal parts tales of woe and tales of whoaaaa. This means I have become the elevator. Or the net.
I’m trying to have some fun here. On anniversaries there is a strong impulse to be maudlin. I’m not feeling very maudlin. If anything, I’m kind of pissed off right now. Two weeks ago, I set a personal record for vigorous exercise, vigorous healthy cooking (including my holy grail, making enough to freeze for later), and I recorded a resultant weight loss. It was The Best Week. Naturally, it ended in illness. A headcold descended and I am still, ten days later, not completely out from under it. All of last week was lost to marathon honking into Kleenex, downing gallons of tea, inhaling cough-inducing eucalyptus oil steam, pressing hard on pressure points in my face, attempting to nap while mouth-breathing, defrosting the meals I’d been hoping to save for later, and chanting incantations. Okay, maybe I wasn’t very regular with the incantations. But once again, as every time I get sick, whether a Major or a minor illness, it is astonishing to note how quickly things can go downhill. How quickly I want to retreat to the cave, assume a protective posture, disengage from polite society. I’m emerging again, I’m trying to get back to 100%, but to be realistic, I’ll need to take a nap right now if I want to hit 80%.
When I think back over the past year of posts – over two hundred of them now, and still very few of them usefully tagged (at this point I won’t even try to apologize) – I think they fall into a few major categories. Tributes – to family, to artists or specific artworks, to caregivers. Updates – from the sublime to the ridiculous, with perhaps only 24 hours or so separating the two extremes. Reportage – giving the “and you are there” feel to my treatment, with no detail spared (to the chagrin of some). Rants – because what is a blog without a good rant or two? Hmmm, already up to four categories. I think I should stop there.
If you’ve been a habitual reader and commenter over the past year, I would love to hear what your favorite post was (if you can remember it) and even what the worst post was. If you’ve been reading in the background – yes, you there! – thanks for reading. If you’re just finding this blog now, as a result to a web search, because you’re feeling kind of alone and because you may be the only person in your entire country to be receiving the same drug therapy I am – well, I wish I could hug you. It can be hard to be a citizen of this fledgling country, New Cancer, and it can be hard to get citizens of Cancer to recognize our documents. We don’t have an anthem yet, or a flag, but perhaps we can agree that our national food is the almighty doughnut. And, of course, that we want all cancer, new or old, to just get fucking dead.
Since it is November, a month during which many people stave off the boredom between Halloween and Christmas by trying to write a novel, I am repeating a similar exercise I did in 2013, and writing a poem each day (I’ve never been much of a fiction writer). Some friends have joined me. So posting here may be lighter than usual this month, while I try to set some poem ideas alight. I do have a scan coming up next week, so you can count on an update then, and if you’re lucky, maybe yet another photo of that horrid bottle of berry-flavored barium sulfate. So gross, yeah, but… I’ll live.