(This was the first dispatch from Cancerland, posted again for those who may not yet have read it.)
Stands to reason that cancer would get me in the gullet. So much has stuck in my craw in the course of my life that surely I had any number of toxic irritants stuck there in the moist dark, biding their time, just waiting for the cellular signal to run amok.
All right, yes, I drank and smoked. Hell, I still do. So the retribution-minded among you can say I brought all this on myself, and there it is. But the truth is that snow-white innocents who engage in no vices whatsoever are nonetheless themselves also afflicted by the plague that currently afflicts me, while many who are more dissolute than I live on to cancer-free old age. I played with fire (and with fire-water), thereby skewering the odds. True dat. But I might be in the same place after a life as an abstemious monk, or annually given a clean bill of health while carrying on like a cackling Mandarin. I am to blame, in other words – or not. None of that’s the point.
The point is that, some weeks back, I was shanghaied, and awoke in another world entirely than the one in which I had been living.
These, then, are letters home from the Republic of Cancer, to which I was whisked off the way rendition spirits suspected terrorists overnight to lands where the law is negotiable, reality is amoebic, and nothing – not even the view from the window – can be counted upon.