My Cancer Story – A Year Ago Today

I’d like to do two things with this post:

  1. Tell you the story behind My Cancer Story,
  2. And run a title by you dear readers.

I’d love to have your thoughts on both in the comments below.

Not familiar with this? Start reading the story now.

A year ago on Monday, March 14th, 2016, I joined my Pub Quiz Trivia Team, Quiz in My Pants for our weekly round of beers and brain-busters. After the night had wound down, I was talking to my friend Eric about my battle with cancer, and I had went into details of which I hadn’t thought of in years.

The purge of knowledge felt good; I was in a stressful job, and the venting of my past transgressions lifted my spirits once more. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you’re in a dead end job, and so this moment (coupled with the carousing of our typical gathering) elated me to no end.

So right then and there, I had decided to write about my experiences, initially for posterity’s sake. “It’ll only be a few chapters on my blog.”

What an idiot. As you may know, the project far exceeded that original estimation, and as of this post, I’m forty-one chapters deep, and I’ve only just begun the second half.

So I planned what I would write and created my document on March 16th [Happy Birthday, Brad!]. A year ago today. I saved the tome with the first words in the document prior to the appearance of punctuation–

It Was Dark. Believe you me, that almost became the title several times.

This book became something more to me than just writing it down so that my old man brain could remember it all. First, it became a journalism project; soliciting friends and family members alike for any and all information they could remember from their interactions with me during that experience. It had been twelve years since I had completed treatment, and so I understood how difficult it would be to recall anything pertinent.

But I wasn’t just looking for pertinent, I was in search of emotions, memories, and stories. I literally asked for anything that my interviewees could remember. It was an exhaustive amount of research, and it was riveting. The hunt for knowledge compelled to me write more quickly.

Within a few days, I had five chapters worth of first drafts already written, and I had only scratched the surface. This story turned into a book, complete with first draft chapters each week on Mondays, but then, it evolved into a purpose.

This was why I was here; why I survived my battle while so many others did not. Survivor’s Guilt is a real thing, and this was alleviating some of the burden. This story utilized my talent in a way I had never yet imagined, and I lamented my sickly eighteen year old self for not chronicling the day to day in a damned journal.

My Cancer Story is thematically about three things:

  1. The experience, so that other fighters can see the other side of treatment.
  2. Shining a light on the long term effects of chemotherapy and the ordeal.
  3. Making the most out of one’s life, especially when given a second chance.

But it needs a new name. I was fairly certain of that name when I began to write this post. But upon doing some research, I found that the intented title has already been used by a book.

The title I wanted? Thank God for Cancer.

So what now? If I can’t call it “It Was Dark” or “Thank God for Cancer,” then what will I call it? This is most disheartening. What do you all think of “Thank God for Cancer?” Should I stick with it, and pray that the other guy doesn’t sue?

Respond below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And in the meantime, you can begin the story here.

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

This will be my on-going story of my personal battle with Cancer. I’ve been wanting to write this for years, and my hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.

The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writer. I’m writing a first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. A LOT will change when it’s published.

Stay tuned as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.

And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.





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