Friday, August 7, 2015

Wheelsucker Presents: (Soft Launch)

Loyal readers:
It’s all your fault. Just so you know…

Cancer is extraordinary. It changes lives in a moment. It’s voracious. It consumes.

Yet, cancer gives gifts. It inspires. It can bring out the best in us. It offers us opportunities for insight, growth, change.

I’m not Pollyanna—cancer kills. It destroys.

But, between here and there is an infinite space. How we fill that space is up to us—it’s the challenge cancer presents us.

In truth, the challenge was always there. Cancer made me see it.


This blog has been my therapy. It has enabled me to free myself from myself, while going deep within me. It enabled me to share my stories with you, and in the sharing, it saved me. Where I once was isolated, I connected. When I most needed support, I received it. I gave the only thing I had—me. And what I received in return…has changed my life.

All from the power of stories.

Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of the story.
—Neil Gaiman

Even within the fever dreams of chemotherapy, I wanted to do something more. I wanted to expand the blog experience into something…greater. I didn’t know what that meant, but I knew that I would know it when I found it.

Months passed. I recovered. Mindfully, I made myself open, receptive.

One of the things I am good at is connections. A thought here, something from there, a sliver of that from yesterplace, and a scosche from neverwhere become...something whole and meaningful. I read and watched and listened and thought and saw and heard and an idea formed. Then it grew.

I bounced it off him and her and listened to their feedback. I reflected, and the many voices within me argued. Powerful parts cajoled others into action. Doubtful parts were dragged along, despite their sea-anchor affect.

In my last blog post I wrote about how:

I took strides forward, only to be knocked back. Sometimes I got knocked back and sideways. Other times I was spun around; dizzy and confused I fell on my arse. Usually spectacularly.

There was a lot of arse on the ground. (Yes, I have a large arse!)

But, I got up.

I was inspired by others—people who built things. I’ve always let my fear and doubt rule. They didn’t. They Got Shit Done. They Made Things Happen. And I deeply admire them for it!

So, why not me?


One of the things I listened to was the Nerdist podcast. Across the episodes an ongoing theme is “just build your thing”. It’s post-Nike. Instead of just doing it, it’s about building it. Make something real. Make something that reflects you and your ideas.

And I have an idea.

And through all the self-doubt and self-stop, the obstacle-creation and the bury-yourself-under-the-pillow paralytic fear, my idea shone through.

I’m quoting him again (slightly out of context), but Gaiman is irrepressibly quotable:

Ideas will, eventually, win. Because the ideas are invisible, and they linger, and, sometimes, they are even true.

And my idea is this…

Here We Go!

It’s all your fault because you encouraged me.

As I shared more, you responded. And one of the humbling things I kept hearing was that you enjoy my writing—my way of expressing things. I don’t take compliments well, so it took me some time to acknowledge and grow comfortable with it.

But that was nothing compared to private comments from those who shared that I helped them, or their friend, or their sister/brother/son/daughter. Quietly, one of my goals was being achieved—someone out there got something meaningful from my blog.


Like Michelangelo’s block of marble (I am, on occasion, dumb as a rock.), there was something within me that always existed and needed to emerge. I’ve never been able to tell a joke. I’m useless at it. But stories?

I’m a storyteller. It’s that simple.

I love storytelling. If you strip all the bits away, what you'll find at the center is a storyteller. As I warm to my career and love it more, I have a sense that storytelling is healing, in many ways. You can reach an audience and heal, and by heal, I mean entertain and provoke. It's a wonderful life.
—Sir Ben Kingsley

I have an idea. I have an identity. Let’s build my thing...

The Cancer Broadcast is a platform for the cancer community—patients, survivors, caregivers, supporters—to tell their stories.

Stories have the power to change lives, and The Cancer Broadcast is focused on the stories that move others who are touched by cancer. It will be positive—focusing on inspiration and growth...on coping, healing, and thriving. We’ll laugh, even as we cry. And as a community we’ll nuture the strength we need to grow through the cancer experience.

The Cancer Broadcast will be built around a podcast, hosted my me. Blogging will be a part of it as it grows. As it finds its audience, it will become what it needs to become—it will grow organically.

It’s just getting started. The first podcast episodes are being refined, awaiting release.

For now, I’m reaching out to the cancer community. I'll be riding in Pelotonia again this year with renewed purpose. I have nothing to prove on a bicycle. I have a thing to build. I'm going to use my 14 hours of saddle time to meet and talk and listen and receive.

Most importantly, I'm going to connect with my cancer community. I'm going to gather information that will help me refine and build.

Together, we'll build something wonderful.

It's going to be awesome!

What will be will be what will be.

I’ve got this.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's Alright, It's OK

I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?

It’s a question I’ve heard a lot over the past year or so. Returning to normal life, and work, and play—simply living—people have been variously kind and thoughtful and clueless when first talking with me.

My stock answer had always been: “l’m not dead, yet!”

But recently, it’s changed.

I’d wanted it to change for a while. I’d been ready, but I held back. I needed to pass a milestone first, before I could free myself.

And now I’ve crossed that milestone.

My Unremarkable Pelvis

Never have I been so happy to be described as “unchanged” and “unremarkable”. “Change” to me is an aspiration. “Remarkable” is a quality I admire.

But, this is different.

I recently had my now-permanant, semi-annual scan and evaluation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It’s a penitent pilgrimage I undertake. It’s a fundamental and necessary part of my living with cancer. It’s a journey that taxes me physically, psychically, and spiritually.

And it is a milestone. Every six months...time to make the donuts.

And the short version is that my results were…perfect. My blood is healthy. My scans are as clear as they can be (I have that residual mass…).

I have another six months…

Getting There

For the longest time I took strides forward, only to be knocked back. Sometimes I got knocked back and sideways. Other times I was spun around; dizzy and confused I fell on my arse. Usually spectacularly. Few people can fall on their arse with more style and less grace than can I.

I have a talent that way.

But recently, things have…shifted.

Living nightmares have become fugue dreams. Mistakes have become lessons. Challenges…opportunities. Fears have become hopes.

It’s not always that way. I have my bad days. But so do you.

What’s different is that every day is no longer a labor. I don’t go to bed wondering what will befall me tomorrow. I feel like I can handle things. Like I might actually got this.

I could dive inside and tell you how it feels to feel my body awaken. I could describe muscle warmth and sinew suppleness, cardiac confidence and respiratory renewal. I'm getting stronger. I'm finding me again.

I could wax rhapsodic about riding my bike (I've been known to go on about that...). I could share the of joy cycling with a goldfinch past bursting, cornflower-blue-brilliant wildflowers. I could romanticize the apparition of the golden bird that disappeared and reappeared, oddly rhythmically, among intermittent sunburst-yellow blooms.

I could do those things.

Isn't it glorious?

About Time

I’ve been thinking about time. It’s passage. It’s healing powers. It’s anxiety-inducing approach!

I’ve been thinking about people, and the lessons they often unintentionally teach. And about my willingness and ability to learn. And about how some lessons explode immediately, with insights strobe-flashing into awareness. And how others aggregate, accumulating over years before reaching their tipping point...and how I'm felled by revelations I should have known all along.

I’ve been thinking about how the former BCB has changed. And the LAs. And my parents. And my friends. And I see flashes of how temporal everything is, even as it seems permanent.

And how permanent some things are, even those that seemed temporary.

And I know that life can change in a second.

And I’ve learned that life is changing every moment. The river is never the same, no matter how many times you step into it. The stepping is the thing. It's what matters.

And I find comfort in that.

And it is good.


I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?

"I feel...good!"

It feels good to say so.

It feels good to write it.

What will be will be what will be.

I’ve got this.