The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sad news - Leroy Sievers has died at age 53

A great light for me - now extinguished - and I am sad. In so many ways Leroy's blog was a vicarious living for me. And his valiant fight has ended. I discovered him just after my own diagnosis with colon cancer, as he had just described his own cancer journey on a television program Living with Cancer. His death is a reminder to me that nothing can be taken for granted, that our efforts daily must be wholesome, and that fighting does not always mean winning.

I am sad. This is hard to write about, because he was NED/NEMD for four years and then his world went to hell. And I must admit to my own fears and uncertainty.

You can find a nice description of his life at the NPR site ( and a wonderful commentary about his impact on the blogging world at his blog (

When the second shoe drops, it can be very loud.

Peace and love everyone - and live strong.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Story of a Life

The other day I was walking to work, listening to my iPod, when Harry Chapin's "Story of a Life" shuffled its way to my earphones. In case you haven't heard it recently, Harry writes (and sings) of the twists and turns of a young man's life - much the same as Cat Stevens' Father and Son, though with a different flavor. And I have been reflecting (slowly, you might think) on the value and experience of blogging.

Huh? What's the connection here? How did we jump from classic folk songs to blogging without so much as a how-do-you-do? Well, my thinking goes something like this... (1) we all invent our lives every day in the choices that we make and the habits we confirm, (2) we tell those stories to ourselves and our world in the words we speak or write and the relationships that we reaffirm, (3) some of us publish those words (formally in print and informally on blogs and letters), and (4) others read those published works. A blog is nothing more than an un-refereed publication, and it can take on a virtual life of its own (caching is an enormously powerful force for being careful when it comes to writing things down - no real way to ever go "out-of-print").

Great. Now I think the connection is clear. What, no? Well I was once a young man, and sometimes I think that that young man still knocks around inside my biological cache... and there is *nothing* like a cancer diagnosis to wake you up to a lot of things about life. What were those dreams that I was so adamantly pursuing? And why, for goodness sake? And what really separates the fiction from the non-fiction in our lives?

This blog started out being a convenient means for communicating my immediate cancer-related feelings to a close group of people. To be a little more honest, though, it was a means of avoiding the many "replies" that a distributed emailing list generated when I was too tired to do much more than take pills and the occasional shower. I figured that there were people out there that might want to read of my experience - my reality - of being a cancer patient. But my reality was colored by the drugs, the emotions, the fatigue, and many other crayons. I struggle now to find meaningful words and topics to write about.

I have been avoiding the blog. I type comments on other cancer bloggers' sites - I know where they are in cancer-world (to a small extent) having been there myself... but am feeling almost unwelcome by my completion of my treatment. But I still fear - and that is my reality, a story of my life. I am sorry for the silence, because I think there are people checking in with my blog now and again - wondering about a cancer survivor's life. It's just that I feel like the story is now a lot more personal, you know? And I am not sure where to start...