Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I tend to post here exuberantly -- either because I'm happy, or because the latest cascade of disaster has tipped my mood beyond sadness to a kind of bemused, anticipatory giddiness.

This is probably a big mistake. For all the (very real) desire I feel to eat every sandwich, to notice and celebrate the present, to choose relative strength over relative weakness, to stay engaged with other people's troubles instead of letting a balloon of my own sorrow billow around me, I don't want to come off as the heroic cancer patient; the sort of guy of whom, in his obituary, it is said that he "never complained" and "always had a smile on his face." Reality is more complicated than that; sadder.

Let the record show that I complain. I cry. I act like an asshole. (Have I quoted that Onion joke here yet? A fake obituary reading, "Matt Smith, 36, died Tuesday after a long and cowardly struggle with cancer.") Sometimes, maybe even often, I just feel numb, gray. That's what I've been for the last week or so. Whether it's fatigue, my ongoing treatment, assorted cancer-related aches and paints, the end of our California trip, I don't know. I've been down a lot.

I know that Joshua's recent post on Russell Sawicki's death from epithelioid sarcoma saddened me deeply. I didn't know him, but learning even a little about him revealed a young man with an enviable gift for friendship. His battle may be over, but clearly it was not lost. (Update: Russell's obituary is here.)

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