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Hope Porn

February 8, 2020

Reading the lovely and sympathetic responses to yesterday’s blog made one thing crystal clear: 

 

I am a member of Generation X. 

 

What I mean is that sincerity makes me afraid. Very afraid. 

 

I keep this blog for several reasons. One, people pay me. And you can pay me too! (Radio announcer voice) Just go to Patreon and search for David Lee Nelson and become a subscriber today!

 

Another reason I blog is because it’s fun! I love to write and having the opportunity to connect with you all several times a week is one of the highlights of my life. 

 

But the most important reason I do what I do is because I wanted to give people a front row look at the human side of having what I have. 

 

Cancer has the danger of reducing people. Not in reality, but in the minds of others. Even I do it! Last year a friend of mine got diagnosed and wanted to meet for coffee and ask questions. Of course I said yes, and the whole drive there I worried about how sad and sickly she was going to look. Of course she wasn’t! She was still herself. Still funny and sarcastic with a big personality, just now with less hair. And she wasn’t sad. She was angry and scared and hopeful and confused and strategizing about how to beat this. 

 

She was a human. Fully, beautifully human. 

 

And I can’t stand Hope Porn. You know Hope Porn? It’s this unrealistic expectation that people have to be hopeful no matter what. 

 

Not that I don’t believe in hope. I’m an incredibly hopeful person. But hope and positivity only mean things if they are rooted in fear. Rooted in the fact that everything might not be ok.

 

So yesterday I wrote about pain. Because that’s part of the reality of life. But that’s just a part of what this week has been. I’ve also snuggled on the couch and watched The Bachelor with Jaimie. Ate at Thai of Norcross, my favorite Thai place in the world, and a place I used to go with my ex-in-laws.  I laughed with my nurse as she painfully ripped medical tape off my chest. Had my first Popeye Chicken Sandwich. Yes, it was glorious. I started work on an exciting project with my students. Flew to Iowa City. Had the best Chicken Shawarma of my life. Looking at you Oasis on Linn Street in Iowa City. Did two newspaper interviews. Rehearsed Stages. Made fun of Adam Knight giving a curtain speech. Walked in the snow. Ate a burger and a phenomenal piece of Carrot Cake. Stayed up until midnight with Adam laughing and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

 

When the pain subsides, as it always does, those are the things I’ll remember.

 

So if you see me, ask how I’m doing- but don’t feel bad for me. Or be too sincere. Because I wouldn’t trade places with any body. That’s not hope. That’s a fact. 

 

 

 

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