Was it last month that I threatened to write a book? I began by trying to organize and categorize essays I've already written. This did not go well, since I quickly realized I had material for many books, not just one. Perhaps when I am old and grey and nodding by the fire I will dictate my memoir, Strange Journeys, to my grandchildren. This will include the different phases of my life that seem so disparate but may someday reveal a linear dimension. For now, I will write about leukemia. God, I hate that word.
Now that I've been a guinea pig for nearly four years, I thought it time to record my journey through Cancerland so that others--current and future patients, caregivers, family and friends--can get an idea of the day-to-day challenges of the disease and its treatment. Not that all paths will follow mine, but thematically there will be much overlap. I'm hoping this will be a helpful guide to others walking in these crappy shoes.
Yesterday, I finally started writing the first chapters. Some of it I had already been written so I spent a lot of time weaving the new and the old together. I find this much more difficult than writing from scratch but since memory is fickle, it's beneficial to have journals and notes and writing exercises and blog posts to refer to and borrow from.
Writing about my illness is cathartic in many ways. This is what happened. This is how I coped. This is how I fought back. All very courageous and uplifting. The downside is having to relive the darker memories and try to make sense of them. Anxiety sneaks up from behind and screams: Boo! There are drugs for that.
I will be in need of a good editor, not to mention a publisher, but for now I'm going to fasten my seat belt, let the words flow and see where they take me.