My fight song

This song will forever be a part of my cancer story.

This song was released last year, about the time I got my cancer diagnosis. I never play music at home but I heard it occasionally on the radio going to and from the Cancer Center. And almost every time the chorus kicked in, I’d start crying and almost drive off the road. It still makes me cry. But I sit a little taller and feel a little stronger, a little more determined when I hear it.

The real anniversary

My ‘Longest Year’ is over

Despite the title of my post a few days ago, today is my real one-year anniversary. My cancer surgery was exactly one year ago, May 20, 2015, and was the first salvo in my war against the invading malignancy.

I hasten to say, however, that I’m not a “hero” for “fighting courageously.” And I’m not “brave” or deserving of praise. Few cancer patients really are, although that’s the way we’re often depicted by others. We really have only one decision to make: We decide to fight and go through whatever treatment the professionals deem necessary, or we decide not to fight and just let the cancer grow and spread until it kills us.

Fight or die. What would you do under the same circumstances? I think the choice is pretty easy, unless maybe you’re already at death’s door.

So, I am quietly marking this, the one-year anniversary of the day I declared war on cancer. It’s been a tough year, but I’m past all the surgery, chemo, and radiation, and the lung problem seems to have cleared up. It’s now pretty much up to me to continue recovering and get back to whatever is going to be “normal” from now on.

Inspiration is where you find it

Fighting cancer requires all the strength and inspiration you can summon, no matter the source.

Having cancer is hard. Cancer treatment is hard. It takes a long time and it consumes your life in the process. There are days — perhaps many days — when you think you just can’t go on. You can’t do it anymore. You can’t take another step. But somewhere, somehow, you find the strength to get through one more day. Because you have to. Because no one can do it for you. And for everyone, that strength, that inspiration will be different. Whatever works for you, use it, lean on it, hold it close. Continue reading “Inspiration is where you find it”

A promise

When I am well again, if not before …

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir, The Mountains of California

When I am well again, if not before, I will go to the mountains more often.

Solving that awkward ‘what to say’ problem

What to say to a sick friend? Designer Emily McDowell has some great ideas.

I’ve not yet been subjected to any well intended but painfully clumsy good wishes regarding my illness. Maybe word hasn’t gotten around yet, or maybe I just don’t have that many acquaintances who care. (Or maybe I just have very classy friends.) But I came across an item on Slate this morning that I wanted to share.

Designer Emily McDowell has created some empathy cards of the sort she wishes she’d gotten … Seriously, you’ll like these >>

My favorite quotation

My all-time favorite quotation suddenly becomes very relevant. Again.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”


From the day I first came across it maybe 50 years ago this has been my favorite quotation. It’s always attributed to Goethe, but I’ve learned in recent years that it’s not from Goethe. Not exactly. It’s actually a paraphrase of Goethe in a passage from … You know you want to know >>