Because It’s All About Me: Adjusting the Focus of My Blogging

22 Mar

 

People who know me know that I talk a lot.  Sometimes I talk about interesting stuff, sometimes important stuff, sometimes nonsense, but the bottom line is that I find it hard to keep my mouth shut in the company of others.  Also, I tend to talk a lot about me!  This is not intentional, really.  Often, though, I seem to speak in stories…not like the way that Jesus spoke in parables, of course, more like the way a Borscht-Belt comedian seems to have a story for every situation.  When I want people to understand that I’ve heard and understand, or sympathize, or empathize with what they’ve told me, I often respond by telling a personal story that I think will resonate with the topic of conversation.  I suspect that at times this trait is annoying, and I thank so many of my family and friends for their indulgence.

This trait in me, this habit of speaking about myself, is significantly magnified in this blog.  Truth is, I’ve looked around at personal health blogging a bit, and it tends to be a pretty “me-centered” project.  I don’t think any of us who blog in this way are unaware of or insensitive to the people around us.  It’s just that, let’s face it, when you blog about illness, or recovery, or some combination of the two, you really only have your thoughts and stories to work with.  I can’t, for example, meld minds with my daughter and learn in any textured sense what she’s feeling these days (although, Emma’s talented English teacher has her students doing weekly blogs, and Emma’s is quite good…check it out if you’d like).  And even if I could reproduce with perfect fidelity the thoughts and feelings of my family and friends, those thoughts belong to them, as do their trials and anxieties, and it would be a violation of their privacy for me to share those experiences in a public way.

Events over the past few weeks, and particularly the past few days, have made clear the tremendous psychic toll the past six months have taken on my immediate family.  To be clear, Amy and Emma are ok, but it is quite clear to me that they have suffered greatly through the process of diagnoses, misdiagnoses, conflicting opinions, and the general worry that comes with a bizarre structure located in the center of my chest.  The same is undoubtedly true of my mother and sisters, each in their own way.  At times my heart breaks for them, and as much as I crave a more definitive future for me, I yearn for their lives to be filled with joy, contentment, and ease.

Lately, I’ve been pretty down, and I am sure my blog reflects that.  My surgeon, who told me the other day that he sees it as his responsibility to resolve my “problem,” has a way of speaking that just seems to worry me more than it should.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good guy, I just wish he were a little more…chipper, I guess.  The truth is, though, that I am no worse off than I was almost six months ago.  Indeed, I am better.  I am blessed with an extraordinary support structure.  I have doctors insisting that they look at me every few weeks.  I have a remarkable wife, whose sense of calm helps get me through a lot, and an extraordinary daughter, who has had to suffer through a lot of my nonsense for the past six months.  I want them, and all of you, to know that, today, I see things differently than I did even a few days earlier.  There are lots of tomorrows ahead of us.  They will be full of pleasure and promise, and so I would like all of us to worry a little less during our todays—and that begins with me!

Finally, let me apologize for my selfishness.  Too often when I have asked for the prayers and good thoughts of this extraordinary electronic community, I have asked for such support in my name.  That’s wrong.  Should you ever think of or pray for me, please do so for my family as well (who needs and deserves such help) and while we’re all at it, let’s direct those good wishes to a world of people who suffer far greater anxieties, indignities, and illnesses than I ever have.  I know that you’re all good eggs and have been doing that anyway.  I just wanted to add my prayers to yours.

As always, stay tuned.

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