There are few journeys more “narrow to the bone” than a cancer diagnosis with an uncertain future. Like the crack of a gavel, this sentence was handed to me by my oncologist, Dr. Mark Schroeder, in early August. I completed my third week of radiation treatment and chemotherapy on Friday.

Whether or not to write about the experience troubled me for weeks. As a Journal columnist for 20 years, I had publicly opined on many far-ranging life events: my divorce, marriage, the births of my children. Sensitivities could be handled with prudence, especially the privacy of others, I felt — but to what end?

The answer to this formed two days into chemo and radiation. Fifteen years past, my Dad underwent treatment for cancer at this same Vucurevich Center I now daily attend. So, too, my twin brother, James, who succumbed to his cancer 10 years ago. At the time, I was very aware my grasp of the depth of their struggles was painfully inadequate. It felt like a failure of caring.

Here is an opportunity to report from beyond this veil, as it were, and provide details and observations from the battlefield. Experience tells me it would be useful. A Cancer Story starts today and will run regularly in the Journal until this journey ends.

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11 updates to this series since