Bill’s tale of two cancers

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I don’t usually write much other than my email exchanges with Rocky and the odd blurb for copy at shows (mercifully brief) so it may take a while for me to put together something that I hope is both true to the events and experiences that float to the surface as I go back down the rabbit hole of memory as well as entertaining. Yeah, that’s right, I do hope to make a story about cancer entertaining, ’cause why write anything that’s going into a public forum if not as a form of entertainment on some level. This isn’t my diary, it’s just some of the things that happened over the course of the past 7 1/2 years, which have been full of the weird and wonderful things that come with the territory when raising kids, making art and going toe to toe with cancer twice .

Remarkably, I’m still here and mostly whole to tell the tale. There were times when I’m pretty sure I was the only one who knew I’d make it, especially during treatments and such the second time around. There were also times when I wasn’t so sure, but others were.

And before you go thinking that this is gonna be one of those feel good things, consider my response to people who tell me I’m lucky after they hear some of what my family and I have been through, meaning “you’re lucky to be alive”. I say I must be lucky, because most people only get cancer once and I managed to get it twice.

I am a cynical bastard at times, but I figure I’m ultimately an optimist, otherwise I wouldn’t have become a father. That said, I am a cynical bastard at times, but I also figure you’ve gotta be if you don’t want to go insane when you realize what a crazy universe we inhabit, especially with what we’ve done with the world we were given to play on. If there is a god then Einstein was wrong, because (s)he rolls the dice constantly.

I’m not sure how to structure this stuff, because there are many aspects to the whole story/experience. There are the physical, medical and technical elements, the psychologies of different phases of the fight and recovery, the role of community , the effect it has had on the people I’m so very fortunate to call family, the manner in which being an artist affected my responses to everything that has come with the territory, the effect that same territory has and hasn’t had on what I do in the studio….and much more, as I’m sure I’ll discover as I get down to writing about this part of my story.

I’m going to try and post something at least twice a week now that I’ve broken the surface and made the commitment to do this publicly. It may be pedestrian at times, but hopefully the thing will go sideways as I go back to reinhabit some of my perceptions via memory. I threw out all the notes I made during the actual time frame of the events that I’ll be refering to, mainly because it was pretty much gibberish when I read them later. That’s what morphine , muscle relaxants and big doses of chemotherapy will do to you, but it’s funny how the emergence of physical memory helps to make intellectual sense of things that didn’t make sense when they were happening.

I also want to write this now that I have enough detachment from my time in treatment and before too much time has passed to keep the flames of these memories burning.

See ya in a day or two.

You can find more posts that follow this intro if you go to Bill’s part of the blog, in the chalk drawings section. They’re also available on this page as posts, tagged

“A Tale of Two Cancers”

Go to Bill Batten in the blog roll for cancer one and two.

or click here

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~ by Rocky Green on February 24, 2007.

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