RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
It was two years ago today that Leroy Sievers posted his first entry on a new blog: My Cancer. The blog is at our Web site, npr.org. On MORNING EDITION that day, Leroy said this:
LEROY SIEVERS: When I was first diagnosed, I called some very close friends and emailed others. It was bad news - bad for them to hear, bad for me to say. A number of friends broke down in tears, and I found myself comforting them, which seemed an odd role reversal.
MONTAGNE: Almost every weekday since then, Leroy has written about what he calls the roller coaster ride of cancer: the discomfort of chemotherapy, the fear and the hopefulness of waiting for test results. The My Cancer blog has thousands of devoted, daily readers. But as the blog developed, so has Leroy's disease. He brings us up to date, as he does most months.
SIEVERS: Two years ago, it seemed like a pretty simple idea: write something each day about cancer. So we started the My Cancer blog. I don't think any of us really knew what to expect. After all, I wasn't even supposed to be around to work on it. Six months earlier, doctors had found a brain tumor. A doctor looked me in the eye and said three months, maybe six. Well, two years later, I'm still here. That first tumor is gone. But it's been replaced by others. And the blog has taken on a life of its own. It has become a place of refuge, a rest stop on the long, difficult road that is cancer. We have made friends and lost friends on the blog. We have learned things from each other, things we never thought we'd need to know.
With My Cancer turning two years old, I'd expected to write a commentary that would be a celebration. But life in cancer world doesn't always go the way we expect. The cancer attacked my spine. Just like those old advertisements, I fell, but I couldn't get up. That meant surgery, another surgery, an infection that almost killed me, and one more surgery after that. We finally thought the battle over my spine was winding down. It was time for routine scans, time to see what had happened while we were fixated on my spine. For some reason, I felt optimistic. I was wrong.
My last scans showed that my cancer has exploded - new tumors in my brain, liver, lungs, bones. Well, you get the idea. So I've been going through the process of, quote, "getting my affairs in order." Doing all the paperwork, all the legal things you need to do. No one really knows what the next step will be, how my disease will play out. But we know it's serious. I had radiation on my brain and my pelvis for pain relief. That's about all I can do. From here on, we're going to be worried about comfort, about relieving the worst side effects. So this anniversary has been pretty stressful. But if I've learned anything over the last two years, it's that life with cancer is tough. I've learned something far more important, too. No matter what happens, we're all in this together. None of us walk this road alone.
MONTAGNE: A couple of months ago, Leroy Sievers asked his blog community to finish this sentence: My cancer…
More than 350 people did, and you can see a slideshow of some of the readers and their responses at npr.org.
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