Hello, My name is Stephen R Wagner, and I am posting here because I have written a novel about a man fighting colon cancer (based on my own experience fighting colon cancer). I am posting here because I thought that it might interest you, if, for no other reason, than the simple fact that literature, and the public (in general) rarely seems to focus on such things.
I must warn you, it is an odd book, full of darkness and humor (though I believe that many of the best things in life are a complex blend of the two).
If you are curious, you may find a link to the audiobook version, on Amazon, here: http://a.co/2gMyr0Y
May you all be as well as you can.
PS. It has just occurred to me that I didn't think to include a sample of the book, which was foolish of me. To correct this, I am inserting the text from Chapter Sixty One, below. (The book largely consists of very short, somewhat absurd chapters).
Here is a truth that I will now tell you. I was somewhat amazed -not that I had survived - but that I had been injured.
That the slings and arrows cast down from the heavens should actually have found their mark.
That was what startled me.
To wake up with my rectum removed. They had gotten to me. I had, to one degree or another, been gotten.
It had always been my intention to win unconditionally. But, of course, things do not always work out as we intend them.
I was ready to suffer and experience pain, I was ready for nausea (oh, how I was ready for the nausea). But, foolishly, I had thought that I would escape permanent physical injury - that the lasting scars would only be emotional.
I thought that I would escape , but they had caught up with me - and maimed me.
That was what startled me.
To look up, after being hit, hands coated in my own blood, to realize that I had been hit.
My entire mission was in jeopardy.
That was what amazed me.
I have a seam that runs from my testicles to my sternum. You may feel (or think) that I have misspoken. That I should have said stitches or scar (depending on the time scale from the surgery). And you would not perhaps be considered technically wrong in this. But I think of it as a seam. A visible line, showing where parts have been joined, or rejoined. A visible marker showing how the fabric is held together. A hint as to the makeup of the whole, which hints at both strength and weakness. It is both a sign of damage and of healing. There have been damages. My seams are indicators of this. I am not afraid of them or made uncomfortable by them. I shall leave that to others.
So, we must ask, what has been lost? We have lost smooth, unblemished surfaces. And there is some sadness in that. There is a wonderful silent joy in drawing fingers idly over smooth surfaces. There is something to be said for that.
But I was not, in all honesty, ever that smooth to begin with.
Know where your seams are, know how the whole is put together. Be not ashamed of them.
I have been battered about, and sections of the ship have been lost and destroyed.* That they (the sections) may never be used again.
*Parts of the reactor have been cordoned off, with sealed (iron) doors, that the disease may not continue to spread from one compartment to the next. Entire sections of the craft will likely remain unusable, for forever. There are concerns, at times, among the crew, that the entire vessel is no longer sea worthy. The crew is not likely wrong in this, yet we continue to head out into deeper waters (beyond the safety of the bay), on patrols in enemy territories, as there is much still to battle. I would be lying, if I said that when I give the command to dive - when I give the command to dive and I hear the dive sirens sound throughout the hull of the ship (just before we submerge), I would be lying, if I said that I do not wonder, each time, if we shall make it back to the surface. It is not for me to say, whether or not I shall make it back to the surface again. I give the command to dive, and down we go, as there are things below the surface that I must take care of. You need not follow me (below the surface) if you are uncomfortable with this. But, dear reader, we could always use another good pair of competent hands below deck. Think about it, but do not think about it for too long, as I must proceed on, with or without you. As (your) captain, I am sworn inextricably to the missions themselves. Missions I may not lay idly aside: though the obstacles before us may seem insurmountable (as they indeed might be), and though the odds are not in our favor (as they are not). We persevere. We persevere simply because we are still here. Come and persevere with me. There is still fun to be had. If you are willing to have it.
For all my falling apart, do not think, for a second, that they have gotten through to me (with their darkness and their death). They need not get through to you, either.
You will likely want to know what it is like to have a permanent colostomy bag, but you are not comfortable asking. I will tell you.
It is a little bit awful.
It is not fully awful. It is a little bit awful. It is manageable, but not pleasant. It is a tiny bit awful. It concentrates and magnifies the processed un-pleasantries of life. In addition, you must come to terms with a complete loss of control, as to how and when things happen. Lastly, you must deal with the fact that you are wholly dependent, for the rest of your life, on very specific medical supplies that are not readily available at regular stores. They must be received in the mail, and you must have them with you at all times. Sometimes, I imagine what would happen, if the supplier stopped supplying. If there was a strike, or the factories shut down.
Or if they blew them up.
Eventually, I would have to fabricate my own bags. Wax and tape contraptions, adhered to my abdomen. The logistics would be messy and difficult to work out from scratch. This may seem dark to you. But if it does, then you have not delved deeply enough into the concept behind the statement. It is, in fact, anything but dark and despairing.
I am speaking of surviving pointed towards thriving. If you cannot see yourself through to surviving, you cannot survive. It is as simple as that. You must, to a certain degree, generate yourself in your own imagination. And you should try to make a point about having a little fun with it.
But it is manageable to have a permanent colostomy bag. I will tell you more later.
[End Chapter Sixty One]
Alright, now I'm done, and I shall leave you alone.