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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Little red dots


Well, it's been some week. I posted a video I thought a few dozen people might see, and at last count,  it's over 300,000. I am stunned by the response the video has gotten. Thank you so much for all the support and well wishes. I'm trying to work my way through and respond to everyone. Thank you everyone for reaching out.

Part of what many have asked me after watching the video is what my status is. Am I cured? Am I in remission? Am I done with all of this?

The answer that they want, understandably, is yes. They want to hear that I'm completely healed and moving on with my life. But it's more complicated than that.

In the finale of Breaking Bad (SPOILERS YOU HAVE BEEN SO SO WARNED) there's a scene in which Walt visits Elliott and Gretchen, his very successful former business partners, to convince them to funnel the money Walt has earned cooking meth to his son, Walter, Jr. (aka Flynn...that's a whole other thing) after Walt dies. They agree, but to give himself a guarantee, he employs a little bit a terrorism, seen here.

Even after he's gone, his agents of destruction still lurk. They are unseen until it is too late. It doesn't matter, of course, if they are real snipers or just Badger and Skinny Pete with laser pointers. The threat is there, and the terror is there. Though Gretchen and Elliot have survived Walt, they know they won't be so lucky with the snipers.

I feel the same about breast cancer. Though the main players, the tumors in my breast, are dead and far away in a freezer somewhere, there is always the possibility that more are lurking, just waiting to reveal themselves. Just waiting. So sometimes something happens, an new pain, or odd symptom, and the terror rushes in. Is this it? Is this the moment? The little undertow of sadness and fear that informs my entire life becomes huge, pulling me deep under. (Did I mention I don't know how to swim?)

I'm superstitious about saying that I'm doing well, when it still feels like I'm in someone's cross-hairs.

I don't think it's a stretch to see Walt as the embodiment of cancer, with cancer's cellular action a corollary for his own activity. Think of Walt as a cell. A variable is introduced, in his case, a cancer diagnosis; in the cell's case, an environmental toxin perhaps. In the first episode, we see Walt as having the opportunity to be a vigilante hero, restoring order to society. Instead, he goes the opposite way, and decides to add chaos and destruction. Cells have the same potentiality. Some go good, others break bad, by growing in ordered patterns, or by growing out of control and becoming tumors. Some people, and some cells, like to go down in flames, and take a lot of others with them.

I have a lot of love for the antihero. I will argue for hours against Tony S. being a sociopath. Of all of these guys, like Stringer Bell, or Tony Soprano, the only one I'm afraid of is Walter White.


  1. I just caught your video on I'm truly inspired. My mom went through breast cancer a few years back and it's horrible and scary. Keep up the good fight! I look forward to following you via your blog, it's great btw! :D

    1. thanks so much! hope you and your mom are both doing well.

  2. I found out about you from your video on upworthy. The most beautiful picture (I believe they are are beautiful) is the most recent, as that shows you are still here, fighting cancer. My wife is currently battling breast cancer for the fourth time. Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. So much love to you and your wife, Kenyon. Besos.