I feel that I owe you an update. Days, then weeks, and finally months passed without a post on this blog. Some people asked directly. Many times I didn’t know how to answer.
Even to a writer, what follows a bone marrow transplant is indescribable. Not that I can’t tell you what happened. Sure, I could. But I don’t want to. As much for your sake as for mine. The days before and months after my wife’s transplant have been a slow, unstoppable descent into madness, a kind of bespoke personal hell. But that’s only half of it. At the same time, the people who stood by our side shone and sang like angels. Distant friends would make sure to put an arm around my shoulder. My team at work went out of their way to make it easier and gave me the energy to carry on. Loved ones would not only dip their toes in our lived experience but sometimes plunge head first, so we wouldn’t have to drown alone.
There was too much beauty, and ugliness pressed together for any kind of description to do it justice.
C, a friend of mine, asked me, “Tell me your secret. I want to know, man, how are you still standing?”
Can’t recall what I told him. We were at this neat cigar place, Miguel’s Private Cigars. Smoking and drinking port.
Not sure I had a reasonable answer back then. Because, in truth, I wasn’t standing. Not really. More like constantly getting up—or being dragged up by the elbow by my friends. No real intention behind it. Definitely not posturing or pride. Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Anyway, I’m not here to recount what happened.
We seem to be rounding the corner on cancer for now.
I’m cautious about how to phrase it because after four years of cancer, it’s a) Hard to believe it could be truly gone, and b) I have this nagging feeling that the moment one of us says, “Finally, it’s over.” we get a call from the hospital right the next day.
It happened before. Edyta’s derisive, “God, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with cancer in the fucking pandemic! Imagine, what nightmare.” has kicked off the last cancer season in 2020.
There. An update.
Also, I want to pick up blogging again. Can’t promise a definite subject or theme. Or frequency. Too hard for me to commit to anything just yet.
I used to dream about this cut-off point when cancer is completely, verifiably gone, and life is easy again. I’m at peace with what happened. A better man. Wiser. More handsome. I sit down at a desk by a window overlooking the French Alps and write a book about the hard lessons of cancer and the pandemic. Of love and friendship. A book that would make it easier for people to go through what we went through.
But now, I realize it’s not going to be like that anytime soon. First, I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my life talking about this one experience. Second, sure, it defined me, but there’s so much more I’m passionate about. I’ve been a prisoner of cancer long enough. And yeah, at some point, I may write a guide for friends, partners, and loved ones of someone sick. Seems a worthy goal. But I don’t know if I’m ready.
What I want most of all is to create. Something. Anything. Even if it isn’t perfect and doesn’t have a clearly defined goal. Even if I don’t have the energy to produce high-quality, polished work. Too bad. Let the writing be shit. Still better than spending years waiting for inner permission.
I fear that if I don’t start, I may never find a goal again. So, even though I’m not doing that great at the moment, I want to place one foot in front of the other and see what happens.