Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer]

[cancer] Redefining myself

I don’t talk so much about the cancer these days. Not that the disease has receded from my consciousness — it has become an ineluctable part of me, and I can no more cast it away than I can cast away my childhood — but rather, I don’t want to be defined by it.

Yet I am. When I see infrequently-encountered friends, I am constantly asked about my health (excellent at this point, if you’re new to the blog and missed the adventures of last spring). When I examine my writing process and the words on the page, I see its pale ghost. When my daughter expresses a fear about a family member’s health, I know she remembers me in the hospital bed.

My six month post-surgical followup is this Tuesday, a week or two early. I wanted to get it done before WFC, just because. Not everything works the way it did before; physically, mentally or emotionally.

The redefinition of me cannot be denied. So what I have done since the very beginning of this odyssey is take control of that process, so I redefine myself, instead of being redefined by the cancer and the echoes of its discontents. From time to time I’ve mentioned the gifts of cancer, but this may be the greatest of them: how much I have taken control of my own life and health.

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