I would say, because I know it's true, that I've always been given to introspection. Not quite as focused as I have been of late, but it was not an occasional way to bide away the odd moment. I worked at it.

Which makes all of this interesting and weird. Deep down I am sure. Of what I am sure depends, varies, is mostly consistent, being of a type or line of thinking, seeing, knowing but sometimes incorporating new, unknown, not well known but not unheard of either, facts, feelings, thoughts and visceral sureties.

Sometimes you just know something is right. Sometimes I feel that way about writing this. Then again, sometimes I find myself wanting, almost needing, not for approval but to place in a context that will allow the reader a fuller comprehension, to permit those who know nothing of me, to know how I arrived at the point that allowed me to share, to explain. I don't really do explanations.

At least I didn't. Which leads me right to the doorstep of What Now?

Let me share about about the pathway that has left me on that doorstep.

Last week I had to go to City of Hope for my Meet and Greet and to see the layout, talk with the doc, sign papers, all the exciting things that go with bone marrow transplants.

City of Hope is one of the best at what they do and they specialize in treating cancer and bone marrow transplants. They just celebrated their 10,000th one year post transplant survivor. I wonder how many non-survivors there are. 10,000 is a LOT of happy people and a LOT of happy families. I've never seen a one sided coin.

However, and when is there not a However, there is a cost. During my tour I saw some folks who could easily have just come off a set where corpses were coming alive. Thin, grey, miserable eyes, shuffling steps in open back plastic slippers, looking for all the world like the living dead. My fellow sufferers. Pale faces, dark circles under their dull rheumy eyes, pasty skin hanging loosely, no longer fitting what their bodies had become, sad people, dying people.

It turns out that my course of chemo had been relatively light. And it's just been the one course. Six treatments but all of the same chemical cocktail. Some of those poor folks had had five and six DIFFERENT courses of however many treatments each one requires and then attempting the bone marrow transplants and the ONE question, the one thought that kept going through my mind, "Was it worth it?"

Does the cost equate to the reward? Does the weeks, months, years of misery and pain and expense balance out when weighed against the length of life that MAY have been added? What quality to these lives? What do these people do, what might I have to do should I go down that path, other than go through treatment, to justify the cost?

I'm lucky in comparison. It's likely I'll survive. There's a significant chance I won't but, to me, there, that day seeing those people, gaily coloured masks in place to keep out the spores and microbes that could rob them of what they fight so hard to extend, with their stooped shoulders and bent hairless heads. Comparing that to me, bald, beautiful as always but bald as a damn Qball, outwardly appearing much as I ever have save the hair thing (it used to just about touch my butt and I had a very serious mustache and goatee that are conspicuously absent) it just seemed that I had more life in me, because I had not been through what they had and therefore DID, than they had.

Not to say any of them had given up either. I don't know their stories. I would not, will not, speak for them. I only read what I saw on their faces, interpreted what their bodies told me, put to work my own deductive reasoning and inner voice listening. I still think that misery was a constant companion to most of those folks.

Which leads me again to, "Why?"

Are you, am I, so desperate to live that courting death, taking by prescription what a sane person would not even keep in the home in which they lived, doing so on purpose and regularly hoping for nefarious, implied but never promised cures and miracles, counting on, planning for and happy with what? A year? 2? 3? Really happy though? I must question that.
Is five years of life, unencumbered by machines and doctors and needles, treatments and scans, no longer afflicted by the caustic smell of hospitals, no more wondering if what you're doing has any value, if you're just wasting time that might be better spent living, no more not knowing; is that worth more than eight or ten years of, for lack of a better word, treatment?

I don't know, nor would I dare to answer for another. I speculate and I wonder and I write it here, which goes right back to the start of todays musings.

How do I do this, maintain my hard earned mystique and ever-so-gentle reputation, yet convey what I feel, mean, deep thoughtful meaning, without being either dismissed as a baby, an idiot or an attention whore?

That keeps me coming back to, "does it matter?"

Which 'that' do you mean though? Opinions of me are irrelevant, always have been. But opinions of what I write, what I try now more openly than ever before to convey, are unquestionable relevant. That is new.

So, for now, I will continue to keep much of myself to myself while still exploring this new frontier I've been forced to cross, share some of that journey while still trying, hoping, that I can provide something to provoke thought, ideally of a new and previously unconcieved variety not only in myself, along with the solutions so often needed by such thought, but in those whose .....lot, plight, burden or privilege it is to try to pry meaning from the scribbles of my mind.

I don't know if the cost is worth the reward. There is no guarantee of any reward. How can cost be judged by an unknown?

Worry not about cost then. Should a price be paid, would a balance somewhere be leveled? I have no clue reliable enough upon which to base a decision.

I do know that a LOT of thought is in my future.