Cancer Blog!

Once again, I’m back. I have what has turned out to be an unusual case of thyroid cancer and I think I’m going to blog about it.

Summer’s hiatus was a plain, vanilla blog hiatus. My disappearance in October was directly tied to the discovery of the illness, the extra “part time job” that ensued as I went from test to test, and the fact that I was not fully public about the illness until such time as I was able to tell my undergraduate class shortly before my first surgery. Hence the silence here.

For some people, illness is an intensely private and personal matter. I have chosen the other route: being “out” about it in all the ways that a queer or trans person might be “out” about his and/or her sexuality. I’m not sure if it’s been a transformative experience for me (time will tell) but it certainly has been moving. The blogging will no doubt be a very public part of the coping or coming out process, but that’s what a blog is for, no?

As a bonus, this might be the only blog in your rss feed running over the Christmas holiday. We’ll see how that goes. I’m all about keeping you entertained.

In case this is the first you’ve heard and you are worried, it does not look like I’m going to die from this, though cancer does have a way of returning years down the road. I do have a few crappy months ahead of me, though, in terms of treatment. I’ve had one surgery and will have another in January or February. I will have radioactive iodine treatment and I will also probably have external beam radiation therapy, as my thyroid cancer has turned out to be especially aggressive. My voice is totally messed up and I am more or less unintelligible on the phone. I sleep a lot and take a nap every afternoon. The fog left over from the opiates and general anesthesia (from my first surgery) appears to be lifting. Those are the headlines.

If you don’t want to read about my own personal cancer stuff, then just look for other posts, when they come (and they will, eventually).

A few ground rules:

–> This is experimental and I’m hoping to take “cancer discourse” in another direction than the one it usually goes. I notice that Steven Rubio has had issues blogging about his kidney stones, and I am painfully aware of all the bizarre medical discourse circulating on the internet. I have strong opinions on how to deal with illness and I’m going to make them known, but as a hint: I am not looking for alternative cures, esoteric studies or explanations for the cause of my illness.

–>I am also not looking to turn this space into a support group for ThyCa survivors (yes, it has its own internet jargon). There are several really good support groups online, and I’ve learned a lot from reading and asking questions, but while some people really need the support group discourse, I have been blessed with very supportive friends and family in great quantity. I do enjoy talking with other cancer patients who share my dark sense of humor and particular worldview, so if you do, I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Otherwise, I recommend that you seek out one of the big survivor groups in your country.

–>I am on short term disability leave from work. The fact that I am blogging does not mean that I can go back to my job full time or do that “just one thing” you need done. Part of being an academic is being personally responsible for a lot of stuff, but part of being a person is occasionally turning inward to tend your own garden. If I did all those “just one things” I’d be working full time again and not necessarily doing the things that absolutely need to be done. In the winter term, I will be phasing in and out of my job as I am able to, with a clear sense of what I can and can’t do. If I can help you on your timeframe, I will. But if I can’t, I’ll need your understanding.

16 replies on “Cancer Blog!”

  1. Staying alive is good. I’m going to hold you to that for the foreseeable, all right? And I’m very glad that you and yours are taking care of each other.

  2. I’m sorry to hear this but glad to hear you don’t envision dying any time soon. Lots of love and healing to you, my friend.

  3. Jon – It sounds like you’ve got your attitude and support network in place! I wish you all the best in your recovery. Music is a healing force – use it and abuse it!

  4. It will take a while, but you’ll get better and feel better, i’m positive of it. granted, it will be a different life, but a livable one, you can ask my wife, she had her operation for thyroid cancer a little over a year ago.

  5. I’m Jeremy Hunsinger’s wife and a thyroid cancer survivor (2 years in February), but not one in need of a support group (well, not for the cancer anyway, haha). It’s good to hear you have lots of support around you; sometimes people fail to understand this process and what it takes out of you, as a lot of it is going on under the surface.

    I found the more I converted the experience into something I could look at and point to (for me that was a interactive exhibit I built in Second Life before I could come back to work), the easier it was to cope. I’ll be interested to see what direction you take the cancer discourse.

  6. Hello Jonatha (from the snowy mid-Atlantic)
    I am thinking about you and wishing you a fast recovery. Thank you for writing about what you are going through.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and providing the very necessary details to keep us in the loop. Thinking of you and wishing you a fast recovery.

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