Essay On Cancer

It made me more self-aware, better able to see the ugly source of my irritability with my daughter, to admit and correct my idiocy and self-centeredness in the moment.And it prepared me for the physical ordeal of healing that was coming.

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“We will deal with it,” she said that day, as she always says, no matter the adversity.

Perhaps she sensed my mood, and my wife’s and Ma’s mood as they talked somewhere outside her closed bedroom door, and responded in kind. Irritated, I expected her to feel sorry for me, to smile and comply, to go down easily and happily that night, a year ago today—as if she knew a gastrointestinal doctor had found cancer in my colon that morning. I retreated into my thoughts as my daughter yanked up and started draining her sippy cup like she was between rounds. Two-sided like a coin, the mirror conveyed what my research saw in society on one side and what my research saw in myself on the other side.

I had been using the mirror to write a book, striving to answer a question people had been asking me since I started speaking in 2016 on my history of racist and antiracist ideas, , I had spent nearly every one of my quiet hours submerged in examining the mostly racist life of human society, and self-examining my own mostly racist life, to conjure and lay out how we can fashion antiracist lives.

Or to be more precise, in the quiet of the day I’d worry about finishing the book, in the quiet of the sleepless night about finishing life.

My focus on writing —was perhaps my way of coping with the demoralizing severity of the cancer and the overwhelming discomfort of the treatment, furiously writing and fighting, fighting and writing to heal mind and body, to heal society. In the silence I can scrutinize the collected scholarship and analysis, listen clearly to my assessments and reflections and inventions, paint their picture clearly and attractively on the canvas.


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