I’ve been having more and more difficulty writing this. I have only a few ideas, I feel like I’ve worn them out, and ideas don’t interest me much anymore.

I can’t concentrate. I could say stuff about the Presidential campaigns and all of that, or medical cannabis or nuclear power or our local goofs or even meditation or love or tolerance or consciousness or forgiveness, except when I try to formulate a thought, let alone a sentence, I remember how sick Janice is. Sick doesn’t begin to describe her experience.

At the cancer clinic in Arizona I was with her most of the time. During our second stay I’d sometimes find something to do—often involving Thai food or a thrift store—while she was getting some therapy or other, but mostly I was with her. I just wanted to be there—and still do—although there’s precious little I can do to help her and nothing I can do to make a big difference. I can’t fix her. I’ve never felt more helpless than I do now. I can’t do shit.

Well, not exactly. I can drive her around and carry stuff and run errands and wash dishes and make her alkalizing juice and flush her IV and tell her that I love her, so I do. Big deal. What she needs is a miracle. I’m working on one.

I’ve heard that serious illness can be a blessing. I know that blessings can have some of the best disguises, so I suppose that’s possible. Janice’s illness has brought us closer together, and that’s a good thing. It has also made most quotidian bothers fade into the background. I even don’t think nearly so much about what my sons want as I used to. They weren’t asking me to think about them anyway, and letting them fend for themselves means I assign myself fewer tasks, Janice gets more of my limited energy, and they grow up faster. Nice.

One cliché I’ve verified is that life-threatening illness clears up what’s important and what isn’t. That’s one reason I don’t pay much attention to politics anymore. I don’t care who wins the Presidential election, because there’s not much difference between Obama and Romney anyway, and the clueless public schools have kept most of us ignorant enough to go along with whatever the big boys want for years to come. Politics is just a story. Reality is at home.


  1. Dear Anthony, I was reading your writing in the CN&R today. I was moved to heartache with the emotions on the page. I know how you feel, oh too well. My father, father in law, and sister all battled cancer! My sister has won her fight for 12 years. Raw comes to mind when I read your words. Raw pain, fear, emotions, nerves, and, most of all, life in general! I remember living on the edge of hysteria. I am praying for you and your family. I hope all comes out well. I am involved in the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. I am the fight back chair. I just love being involved and helping others. You may not know it, but I am sure your story helped others. Some one read it and realized they are not alone. As you too can know that as well! Thinking of you, Sheila Bratcher

  2. We are incredibly different and, yet even more incredibly alike. My wife faced cancer. Your thoughts, your gifted words, resonate as only those that have “been there” can. Your sense of uselessness and despair and powerlessness is so very real to me and it makes you my brother. I cannot carry your worry and pain, but I know it. I want you to be held in the arms of all of us that have been this road. I want you to know that you are not at all alone. Jim

  3. Adrian Diaz says:

    Thank you for all your great writing. I read u everyweek in the cnr right after this modern world if not first. Your column is def the best thing in the paper to me. Muchos gracias

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