Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writing



Why don't I write more?


That's usually the question I ask when I read the posts from frequent bloggers like Jen (http://andersonfamilyzoo.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/. Diagnosed with advanced -- she didn't say what stage, but from my rudimentary understanding of staging, it's either III or IV -- breast cancer, she's taken to the blogosphere like many cancer patients, with a prolific outburst chronicling her diagnosis and initial reaction. She posts frequently and she posts well, and she has a lot to share.

Why not me? 

There's that minor inconvenience of a job that takes up about 45-50 hours a week but I don't think that's the full excuse. I had three weeks when I wasn't working and I posted more frequently then, but not daily. There's something deeper going on. I'm just not exactly sure what. And I want to know because if I can figure it out, I'll know whether I want to fight it or let it go.

Part of it may be that there's a part of me that is inherently a private person. And writing can be an intensively private activity but a highly public experience.

Part of it may be that, unlike Jen (see above), there's happily little to report except once every three months. I'm lucky not to have MRI scans and PET scans and biopsies as part of my daily routine. I'm not wondering how I'll look bald, or how I'll keep weight on during chemotheraphy. I still don't fully associate myself as a cancer patient. I don't feel like a patient. I feel the same as I did before June 2011.

I feel the same.

And yet the more I write, as much as I like doing it, the more I identify as a cancer patient. So there's an inherent unconscious headwind and big, giant uphill slope that I'm running up and into whenever the urge strikes to write. I have an idea for a post. I jot it down. I let it go. Happy to have had the thought and capture it, and then to go on my way as just any old person. 

I've been struggling for weeks with the decision of whether to go to a conference or not. It's by the Lymphoma Research Foundation; it's a half day of talks for Lymphoma patients and families here in MA with presentations from mostly Dana-Farber doctors, including Dr. LaCasce. On the surface, I've struggled with it because I'm not sure how much I'd get out of it and it conflicts with a big event that Matthew's participating in.  But I think the deeper conflict is that to go -- to surround myself with other lymphoma patients and families -- is to identify myself as a patient. 

And maybe I'm not quite ready for that. Maybe I'll be ready next year. And until then, maybe I'll just write a little more.
--michael