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This is Why I Write...

One of my favorite songs of the last decade or so is one called “This is Why We Fight” by The Decemberists. In the early days of my cancer diagnosis, I thought I would adopt it as a sort of fight song… something I could listen to loudly in the car on the way to work and get mentally ready to take on another day.

I was addicted to the melody, vocals, and instrumentation of the song but I couldn’t figure out its words or meaning. I looked up the lyrics and it looked like a bunch of gibberish to me but nonetheless, I thought (and still think) it’s a very cool song. Meanwhile, it occurred to me recently that it might be worth re-explaining why I write this blog in the first place. So, without further ado (and with deference to The Decemberists), this is why I write:

  1. Because I have always enjoyed it, and still do. From writing for my high school newspaper to creative writing classes in high school and college, it just always felt comfortable for me. However, a career consisting mostly of accounting and finance roles didn’t leave much room for that.

  2. I was diagnosed with cancer in August 2013 and by January 2014, I knew it was an advanced form of the disease. I decided at that time to do whatever I could to help other cancer patients, and writing about my experience was one way to do that.

  3. Although my goal is to do my best to help all cancer patients, I have a particular interest in talking to people about prostate cancer – because it is so curable when caught early. Said another way, for most guys, there is no reason to die of prostate cancer (although sadly, 35,000 American men still do each year).

  4. People for whom I have immense respect – like my friend Donna Salyers (who was recently named a “Great Living Cincinnatian”) – have told me that I should “write a book someday.” Strangely enough, this blog… written 500 words at a time… could serve as the basis for such a thing.

My blog is named “5 Years, 500 Words at a Time.” I gave it that name for two reasons:

  1. My goal was to live at least five more years with advanced prostate cancer. If so, that would mean I lived 13-14 years with advanced cancer. I still wouldn’t be ready to leave at that point, but that would be a pretty good accomplishment.

  2. 500 words gives you enough space to say some things, make a point or two, ramble a bit at times (but not too much), and close each entry out before you bore the **** out of people.

How amazing would it be if you could string a bunch of blog entries together into a book and perhaps help people by showing that in some cases, living well with cancer is possible? Maybe I’ll do that someday.

Until next time,



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