Cancer, you’re not invited


For most of my adult life I have answered the question “Occupation?” with one word: journalist. I still do, but now I am tempted to add a phrase.

Cancer patient…

Even in remission, cancer alters a patient’s perception of what’s normal. Morning, noon and night, asleep and awake, malignant cells are determined to alter or end your life…

Age alone puts me in my twilight years; and cancer only heightens that objective reality. Yet I am not consumed by the prospect of death. When it intermittently enters my consciousness it has an abstract quality. I can’t quite get a grip on how this life might end…

Whenever I engage in this kind of reflection I fault myself for not shifting into a lower gear. What happened to the sailing lessons, the calligraphy course, that short story I had hoped to publish? […]

Cancer fund-raising events? Yes, if the distance and demands are not onerous. But is it possible that NBC News coverage of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, two very long plane rides away, would not be at all affected by my absence? I think it is.

Maybe it would be better if I just gathered our five grandchildren and we watched the occasion on television as I answered their questions. Then we would all go for Chinese food and plan our next get together.

Cancer, you’re not invited.

Don’t miss full essay by Tom Brokaw @ Tom Brokaw: Learning to Live With Cancer



  1. I cannot get a grip on it either–and I am not facing cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Dave. Seven years out from my cancer treatment, this resonates deeply. Shared the full essay. So grateful, as always, for your curating. You make a big difference in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. roseanne333 says:

    Tom Brokaw…ever elegant. Love him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “What happened to the sailing lessons, the calligraphy course, that short story I had hoped to publish?” Thank God I have not been visited by the spectre of cancer, but I’m fearful of reaching my golden years and asking these questions anyway.

    Brokaw’s wise words are a potent reminder that every minute is precious and we *do* have a choice about how we spend them. Mother Nature has been hard at work with her paintbrush these last few days, dabbing splashes of vermillion, burnt umber, rich gold across the woods behind our home. Think today’s a day to step away from the computer monitor and enjoy what’s just outside my window….

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Nan Morrissette says:

    Thank, Dave. So much like my wonderful father when he had bone cancer. Diagnosed Jan. 2001, and told he had a maximum of six months to live. June 2001, he and I were helicoptering into Grand Canyon. Never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i love his thoughts on this, and i think he’s so right. simpatico with our posts once again )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eloquent and insightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not many cancer patients I know have ever wanted to invite cancer into their lives. But when Tom says that cancer is not invited, it reminded me of my favorite Rumi poem.

    This human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression a meanness and in this case Cancer.

    Welcome and entertain them all. Even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.

    Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

    Difficult to read and accept at times, but it is the truth.🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: