I simply have been unable to do more than edit things I’d already written up until today. The emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that accompany a diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer…no, not just Stage 4 cancer–but Stage 4 of a cancer so rare most M.D’s have never seen it–can probably be described but not with any words I know.
For perspective, I offer this statistic. There are 314 million plus people in the United States. Every year there are 1.4 million new cases of cancer. Five-thousand are the type of sarcoma I have (GIST: gastrointestinal stromal tumor) and a mere 10-30% of those are malignant. That would be me and a few hundred other Americans. I know. It sucks.
I remember crying in the hospital as I stared at the 8-inch long row of staples buttoning the right and left side of my abdomen together. I wondered how people do anything at all after something this horrible strikes out of nowhere. It was a thought I’d had before but always from a distance…talking to the tv or newspaper, you know. It wasn’t about me. Empathy is nice but it doesn’t really hurt. Not like my new normal does.
Four months have passed since my surgery and I now understand that the chemotherapy and beet juice aren’t enough. I must defy the gravity of my situation to do things that lift my spirits. That includes spending as much time as possible with the people I love and living out loud for better or for worse just as I always have.
One of the things on my bucket list is to blog every day for a month. This is blog 1 of day 1. Honestly, I’m not sure I can write another book or make another speech or start another project. This isn’t a novel though, I don’t need a plot outline or character sketch in order to begin again. All I have to do is try. In a strange way, I feel like I’m starting over from the end, not the beginning, but I’m starting.