Sometimes, nothing is something.

I’ve slayed some pretty impressive dragons over the past few years.  I’ve stood up and stared some rather ugly monsters square in the eye.  I’ve beaten odds, overcome hurdles and have generally been rather damn impressive.

Know what intimidates me? A blank page.

People have called me many things and, recently, “a writer” has been used with increasing frequency.

So why did it take me so long to write this post?


The past few weeks and months have been pretty good – Stivarga side effects notwithstanding.  In the time I’ve weathered two three-week cycles of the drug, I’ve enjoyed a visit from my aunt and uncle, went on a short vacation, saw Star Wars – The Force Awakens, taken delivery of a new couch, changed my ileostomy bag every three days, taken the car for its annual inspection, saw Jerry Seinfeld perform, went out to eat with friends, enjoyed other hedonistic pursuits, went to parent-teacher conferences.

In other words: lived.

But to say that everyday living has gotten in the way of my writing (read: therapy) would be disingenuous.  The truth is, I can usually bang out a decent blog post in not-too-much time and, sometimes, people actually like what I have to say.

What’s going on here is heavier than that.  I’m tired.  Yes, physically, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I mean emotionally. Psychologically.  I’ve been doing this for four years two months and one week, and I’m tired.  The list of what it is that is tiring me out is at once both limitless and minute.  Summing it up with just one word – cancer – would certainly be expected and elicit knowing and sympathetic nods of the head and strokes of the chin, but it would be a cop-out on my part.

The hard truth is that dragon-slaying, for me, is a never-ending herculean challenge.  What I’m coming to realize is that it is now more frequently accomplished by simply getting out of bed and doing whatever needs to be done, like laundry and writing.

In other words: living.

There are cancer patients who, for many reasons, eschew the notion of “battling” cancer.  For me, the concept brings to mind having to do something, specifically out of the ordinary, to overcome this behemoth, even when one knows it is impossible to succeed.  Maybe that’s why some don’t like the imagery of the cancer patient warrior: if they’re not doing anything that is out of the ordinary, they aren’t doing what they should be doing.

Clearly, I disagree.  And that’s today’s lesson.  In this case, sometimes, doing something means doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.


About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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18 Responses to Sometimes, nothing is something.

  1. Yehuda Mermelstein says:

    Fantastic statement……
    “And that’s today’s lesson. In this case, sometimes, doing something means doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.”
    It was good running into you this morning…

  2. Annie says:

    Wow Alan.

  3. RIvka Klein -de Graaf - a friend of Jamie Treager Muney says:


  4. Shimon says:

    Have a Shavua Tov and more. Feel good and be strong .

  5. Carol Joseph says:

    Now that’s a fine piece of writing and 100% correct. I am honored to be your auntie Love you

  6. Clara Hollander says:

    Alan, You’re an inspiration to all of us. You make us think about what is really important in our lives. Clara

  7. stevenexler says:

    Beautifully said. My only response to your commitment to living is: l’hayyim! Plain and simple – just keep living (well, and writing about it when you can).

    Steven & Shira

  8. Uncle Larry says:

    Love you!

  9. keep on living, alan
    thinking of you always

  10. thesmallc says:

    I find myself coming back to this post to read it over. I really enjoyed this piece.
    May 2016 bring you some encouraging news!

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