Spontaneous Confusion

Since I have some alone-time; just me and the cats, I thought I’d try to write my next column a few weeks ahead and take a bit of the time-sensitive deadline pressure off. Not that meeting my weekly commitment has been too much of a problem over the years (nearly 20 in fact), still, I thought I’d put pen to paper, literally, and see what comes out.

So far what has come out is that I’m having creative difficulty writing something that’s to be published two weeks hence. It seems/feels that writing in the present about something to be published in the future is awkward, sort of. It’s somewhere between wishful thinking and a prediction. Neither of which is characteristic of who I am or how I think. I guess my writing nature is that I like to react to reality and then address it in print, rather than anticipate it and then respond to it. Typically I prefer to be current in my thinking and honest in my prose. Apparently, I have nothing else to share so trying to explain that void is the semi point of this column.

And I suppose, without being too self-indulgent, that if a stage IV cancer patient – yours truly, who shares everything with you regular readers; highs, lows and in-betweens, has nothing of particular interest to share, perhaps it’s because I’m experiencing a comparatively easy fortnight between 24-hour urine collection, pre-chemotherapy lab work, every-five-week infusions, and quarterly scans followed by my quarterly face-to-face appointment with my oncologist, so I have minimal cancer-related business to preoccupy my life. It’s almost as if I’m unencumbered by my underlying problem: non-small cell lung cancer. And I have to admit, it’s a heck of a feeling to not have my conscious and unconscious minding my business and re-minding me that I have an incurable form of cancer. Which of course I never need reminding of; as opposed to ending a sentence with a preposition which obviously I do need to be reminded of.

Getting back to the substance – if you can even call it that, of this column: my difficulty writing weeks ahead of publication. What’s puzzling about this difficulty is how uncharacteristic of my personality it is. I am not spontaneous. I rarely do anything spur of the moment other than getting off the couch, changing the channel on the television, switching radio stations in the car, deciding what to wear, eating/drinking/going to the bathroom and/or miscellaneous other household-type duties and responsibilities. Yet the problem I’m experiencing now – related to my June 14 column, is that since I’m not being spontaneous, I’m unable to create?

How can that be a problem? That’s who I am all the time. I do everything in advance – of consequence, that is. Maybe I’m making too much out of nothing? (Oh, really.) Maybe I’m simply stuck in my head and need to get out of my own way. Not that I make mountains out of mole hills but sometimes, and I’ve told by my oncologist that I can blame my having cancer for everything, I might not think so clearly and get bogged down emotionally. Ergo, I will lay the blame for this column and it’s lack of substance, on having “terminal” cancer.

Cancer doesn’t work in mysterious ways (well, perhaps it does to researchers), it works in destructive ways: physically, mentally and spiritually. Logical becomes illogical – and vice versa, rational becomes irrational – and vice versa and manageable becomes unmanageable – and vice versa. For cancer patients/survivors, expecting that one’s life will go merrily along is totally unrealistic. Expecting the unexpected is the path of least resistance. This week’s column/dilemma is simply another example/reminder of how cancer intrudes and deludes and affects those of us who naively thought we would be unaffected.

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