For those who follow my writings you will know I endeavor to minimize that which plagues me, the cancer that is ever-present, which endeavors, like so many things, to consume me.  It’s strange really, strange how in my desire to compartmentalize it, to deny its consumption of my life, it seems to be gaining an upper hand, forcing its acknowledgment by imposing both physical and emotional burdens.

It seems that over time I’ve retained a perspective on this disease, a perspective that has allowed me to preserve my character, to reduce it to just something else in my life with which I must attend.  But it seems that with time it is beginning to whittle away at the door which holds it within its room, seemingly seeping out and presenting itself in a more pronounced way.  I’m not sure how or when it began its escape, perhaps last January when I was first introduced to interstitial cystitis, that bladder affliction resulting from multiple exposures to radiation and which, on a daily basis has made its presence known.  Alternatively, December is approaching and since I skipped my September PSA measurement, have scheduled the test together with an appointment to speak with my oncologist.  I wonder myself, I wonder because I’d like to move it back, move it soundly back into its room, locked away as it had been for the vast duration its visit.

I suppose I can see great fortune in my plight since unlike many I’ve not felt great despair with my diagnosis.  Some have said I am or perhaps was in denial, they say how could I not when by most accounts I was told I should expect to live for 5-8 years.  In a prior post I mentioned I’ve been visiting a Facebook page which is something of a support and informational source on the disease administered by a guy who was 35 when first diagnosed.  I read the stories, the posts of this ‘treatment’ or that ’cause’ and reflect back on my path, a similar path to that laid out on the page.  The newly diagnosed revel in the reports of this or that new and novel treatment or some report about how drinking so many cups of green tea a day will dramatically slow disease progression.

For me, reading all the posts on the page simply reminds me of where I’ve been and the path taken to get to where I am.  When I read the posts, the green tea for example, I sort of chuckle because at one time I read such articles with interest and in many cases tried the various dietary approaches, all to no avail.  I read about how those afflicted are determined to fight, to win the battle and think how sad, sad that they see this as an epic battle, as something on which they must focus every once of energy.  Having dealt with this disease, in what many perceive as a rational manner, for over five years, I sometimes wonder if my approach was as rational as it seemed.  Perhaps if I had allowed the disease to become my life my ‘battle’ would have been more epic and perhaps I would be looking at this 5th year in terms of remission, rather than considering a pool to guess the number.

All said, I’m beginning to wonder if my melancholy simply reflects memories, memories of significant milestones.  Those milestones of which I speak?  First is the trip to Johns Hopkins the day before Thanksgiving where I met with a physician and researcher who offered me a job in his lab, saying I had a better understanding of the disease than most practitioners.  Perhaps it was the trip home, a ride with my sister and her family, in a snow storm, in states where it rarely snows and which, during the ride, Tim McGraw came on the radio singing his ‘Live Like You Are Dying” and everyone but me started singing.  Perhaps it is the meeting of a woman, a woman with whom I had connected on a level I had never previously done shortly after my diagnosis.

I suppose in some ways there are a multitude of things, of reasons, the door falters.  I think in the end though it is one thing, it is life and it is life with cancer.  More importantly, no matter how I attempt to lock it away, how I try to minimize, it, my cancer, that toxin within me, hangs overhead, imposing its presence on all aspects of my life.

Happy reading and happy trails.

As always, feel free to comment or you may email me at


Life’s Abstractions