Thursday, September 17, 2009


My name is Jonathan and I've been given a unique opportunity to have tons of free time. As evidenced by the title of this blog, I have cancer. I was diagnosed about a month and a half ago, and since then I've been pretty uninspired to do much of anything. I have the full realm of the house I grew up in with which to entertain myself, and when I feel good enough I can leave the house as long as I don't go anywhere with a lot of people in an enclosed space.

Before this, I would have called my recent behavior lazy, and I would never have allowed it to happen. But obviously, that word changes everything. Cancer. It's scary to even see it on the page in front of you. What's worse is that it can mean so many different things. There are an inordinate amount of disorders and illnesses under the umbrella of that word, many of which are put there simply because doctors and researchers have been unable to learn enough about them to call them anything else. And, I've realized, most people are made noticeably uncomfortable at its very mention.

Yesterday, for probably the first time since this whole nightmare began, I was feeling motivated. Considering the limited number of options at my disposal, I wanted to find something constructive to do with my time. After all, I plan to rejoin the ranks of normal daily life once I'm over this, so I think I should make the best of all this free time I have right now. Being alone at the time, I realized how often I am by myself, and it hit me, how easy it is to feel alone when you're sick like this. The support I've received from my friends and family has been great, but it's just inevitable that sometimes I feel like I'm all alone. I thought of all the other people going through the same thing as me, and how they probably feel the same things as I do. I thought of all the people who will someday be going through the same thing as me, but have no idea. I want this blog to be for all of them, and for anyone else who's interested. I want them to know that they are never alone, just as I know I'm not alone in this sickness.

One thing I'm sure a lot, if not all of us fighting cancer have in common is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, according to, is the treatment of cancer using specific chemical agents or drugs that are selectively destructive to malignant cells and tissues. Of course, everyone knows that the definition doesn't tell the whole story. Different kinds of cancer call for different prescriptions of chemo drugs, but I'm pretty sure it's universal that chemo kills everything, not just the bad stuff. Chemo kills the cells lining the esophagus down to the cells that make up our blood. It makes you nauseous, dizzy, weak, and sick in a way I've never felt before and really never could have imagined. But, as my dad says, chemo is "the cure" and there is nothing to do but to let it run its course. Over the next few months, I plan to share my experiences, good and bad, as I go through chemotherapy and everything else related to that special word, cancer.

Hopefully, there will be people out there who can relate to what I'm going through, and hopefully I can make them laugh, or at least entertain them for few minutes while they're lying in a hospital bed or trying not to puke as they recover from their most recent cycle. Obviously, not every story will be funny, as I'm going to use this as an opportunity to vent my frustrations and to describe what this experience is really like. I'm not going to sugar-coat anything. I'm just going to be honest. The reality is that I'm dealing with a lot of frustration and anger, which I'm sure is natural, and are sentiments that I'm sure are shared with a lot of others.

My parents are never afraid to tell me that it's healthier to express your feelings than it is to bottle them up inside. Both of my parents, by the way, are therapists. The best way to explain what that was like growing up is to tell you that Psychology 101 was like one big review session. I've been to therapy, at their suggestion, but it wasn't for any real issue. When I was a junior in high school I got caught drinking, so I agreed to talk to someone so my parents could rest assured that I was taking a good approach to life.

I think I was on a good path. I think my approach was alright, but then this happened and my world was turned upside down. It doesn't matter anymore that I was going in the right direction, because now I don't really get to go anywhere. I'm either in the hospital or at home, and most of the time my body doesn't feel good, and it's hard. Really hard. Tough to put into words kind of hard. I know it's only harder if I don't keep a positive attitude, and I'm doing my best, but it's impossible to just "stay positive." Hence the title of this blog. Chemo≠Therapy. Chemo might put me back into therapy, but it certainly is not therapeutic. In the end, though, it is still "the cure," and the reason for which I write.


  1. Hey Jon, welcome to the blogosphere! I don't want to say "you're not alone" because I know that's not entirely true. But hopefully at least when you're writing you'll feel connected with people. You're obviously a really good writer and what you write is going to resonate with anyone who reads it. I know this post resonated with me.

    We're all pulling for you back at school. Stay strong homey.

  2. Really inspiring posts so far. Keep it up.

  3. Hey Jonathan,

    You're writing is inspirational, open and completely absorbing. I am really looking forward to reading more soon. So many frustrations out there as fodder for your work... Be well.

    Jen (from the Writing Project at CUMC)

  4. Jonathan,
    You amaze me at how good you write. I did see the movie Julie & Julia - and now I see you "blogging" that I am so inspired. You stay strong and continue writing....great stuff...maybe another career to consider when you are better. Always thinking of you.

  5. Hey Jon-

    Your blog is very inspirational to all. You are an excellent writer. Keep up the good work. Its easier to say than do, but stay positive. It is a battle, but in the end, you will be the winner.


  6. Jonathan,
    Your words are so real, so raw, and so hits my heart! Hope you are still creating your music. We played your songs many times on our talk show. Cathie