Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Bright Light of Cancer

It seems like a lot of my cancer blogging friends are stepping back. Some that were blogging regularly are doing so less so; others have turned the spotlight away from cancer, or even health, and others still, have flipped the light off and closed the door behind them.

I understand it.

I've written about how often I should blog, and if you closely examine the content of the blog over the past month or so, I seem to have veered slightly away from writing about  my thought process and mental health as it relates to cancer. My last post didn't even mention cancer or lymphoma -- but then again, if you examine the early posts, I stayed away from the big C word. Denial? Fear? It wasn't accidental. As a writer, I usually think carefully about word choice so it couldn't be coincidence that a blog called,Thinking Out Loud: A Cancer Blog, didn't mention the word cancer. Most often, I would use the term, my diagnosis.
I'm comfortable now talking about my lymphoma, my cancer. But it comes at a time when my cancer doesn't have much to say. The chronology of a cancer crisis progresses like a nova. The intense light builds and builds, bursting to the forefront of your identity with such blinding brightness, that it obscures all other elements.

All you can see -- and all, you fear anyone can see  -- is that white hot light of fire. The rest of your identity exists; it just seems invisible to those who can see that explosive brightness. This is why so many struggle with who to tell, and who not to tell. If I tell this person I have cancer, will they still be able to see me.  Or will they just see the cancer?

But here's the thing about novas: they slowly return to their original state. Their brightness fades, and the rest of your identity seemingly shines more clearly. It's not that I have less to say about cancer, it's just that the bright light of cancer has faded. For some cancers -- those with legitimate cures, it may fade to black, leaving only a residue of light. For the more chronic cancers, the light will stay softly on in the background, pulsing with activity from time to time. 

As the light grows stronger, it will be reflected here. And when we have found a definitive cure for follicular lymphoma -- not a push-it-into-the-background-and-wait-for-it-to-return treatment, but a god's honest, it's-not-coming-back cure, then perhaps both in my identity, and in this blog, cancer will fade to black.

--Michael