I’ve done it. After five painstaking months, I’ve completed the third draft of “Thank God for Cancer” (formerly My Cancer Story). If you’re a consistent reader of mine, you’ve likely noticed my absence from the blog. Now that I’m a Writer’s PA (first on Ratched, now on 9-1-1), finding free time is hard, especially when I was knee-deep into the hardest draft of any piece of written work I’ve attempted in my life.
“Set a goal. Accomplish it. Set another goal.”
Many of you have expressed interest in the hardcopy book version of this ongoing first draft of My Cancer Story, and have asked me the title question verbatim. Well, I’m here to answer that for you, today.
My Cancer Story will experience drastic changes as my first draft will soon be beaten into shape to achieve its final form: a finished novel. There is a lot of editing, rearranging, tweaking, and cutting to occur before that moment. But, my goal is to arrive at the finished tome and have it released to the public on December 7th, 2018.
Why that date? Well, because that’s the day Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released, and I’ll have no time for both the book or the game at that point! (I know; if you’ve been reading, I tend to discuss the series a tad excessively. What can I say, passion is a large part of this book.)
Okay, truth be told that’s not the ONLY reason. I also aim to commence my book tour before the end of the year. Ideally, I’d like to visit a few hospitals in the Los Angeles area (especially the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles), and then travel around the country visiting children battling cancer in as many cities as I can.
This book is the first step in a long line of goals that I have to help as many people as I can in the time that I’ve been afforded. My Cancer Story will hopefully be there for others who are experiencing cancer in some form as a method of companionship and of hope.
This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. 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 publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.
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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Chapter 81: “Six Months of Self-Loathing”
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This was a nightmare.
As construction began on the new dish room, we were relocated to a small section on the main floor of the kitchen in a makeshift “dish box.” There was a drain added to the flat-as-a-pancake floor beneath us, and therefore, the water just sat there. During the first week, the machine spat out gallons of water onto the floor daily, causing a mini-flood outward into the chemical/ mop bucket room.
Sure, that’s where our floor sink resided, but the problem was that the water flooded around the foot high walls of the sink and down onto the Emergency Department below us. Yeah, not a pretty sight.
Chapter 61: “My First Girlfriend”
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My path was set. I was ready to make films professionally and my tools to do so were falling into place. The money from the Sunshine Foundation finally came through (a cool grand) and I used it in tandem with my credit card to fund my very own laptop.
I stuck with Dell and decked it out with state-of-the-art processing power and the best graphics card and storage money can buy (in 2005). All in all, the impressive laptop cost me around twenty-five hundred dollars.
Yet, I still felt like I was missing something even as my desired career was well underway. I had spent the past two years being comforted with the fact that I remained in the vicinity of my family and friends, but I had spent the past twenty years without a single relationship.
Sure, I’d had some little childhood flings as many kids are wont to do, such as my girlfriend, Jenn, in second grade or my other girlfriend, Danielle – of one day – also in second grade, but I never had a true relationship.
Chapter 34: “A Perfect Circle”
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Wow, what a Christmas! Not only did my family surround me at every turn, but I also received a substantial amount of presents. My Dad even bought me my very own Gamecube!
Now, all of the games that have kept me sane over the past few months could be at my fingertips at a moment’s notice. No longer would I have to share my distraction from thoughts of boredom or death; I would have my very own game console to do that for me!
Cancer. The mere mention of the word causes a dislodging skip in your heartbeat as the organ descends into the pit of your stomach.
And the trivial confluence of nonsense that makes up your “life:” the bills, the terrible job, the weather; it all just melts away. And all you’re left with is dread.
But then you decompress and absorb the facts, the treatment, the prognosis; suddenly, you’re ready to take this thing head on. The disease is still center stage in your mind, but your perspective shifts to battle-ready mode. With your family and friends on the sidelines rooting you on, you begin treatment.
You learn of the other fighters around you, and join together for a common goal: survival– nay, victory.
At least that was me, thirteen years ago today. And every year since I say this: I’m grateful that I had Leukemia.
Yes, I said grateful. Leukemia opened my eyes to the real world, one where people band together in times of crisis, and care for one another. This world I see is also adorned with appreciation for the little things in life.
I don’t know who I would be if I was spared from cancer. I do know that I wouldn’t appreciate what it means to be alive on the same echelon. Yet every day that I lay my head to rest, I think of those who fought and lost that battle. I live on for them, and I will tell my story to the world on their behalf.
My story will be a long, personal tale that spans most of my life because it’s important to show how I formed, where I could have went, and where I’m going because of my diagnosis. It’s also going to show the long-term effects of such a devastating treatment.
I’ve been writing a chapter a week mostly since late March. At this rate I may end up lapping the calendar, but it’s important to share the story. So if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do. And thank you for being a part of my life; no matter how much we interact, you are all special to me.
Life shouldn’t have been so hard after beating its greatest nemesis: Cancer. Why must we continue to suffer under the oppressive thumb of a steady paycheck? It’s time to change this.
Call it survivor’s guilt, call it self-preservation; but I owe it to all of those young children I’d watch in constant pain, the old folks who just couldn’t fight anymore- those who didn’t survive, those that did, and to myself to do something different–
–To make a statement.