It’s easy to get the idea from living in and driving around LA that human beings, particularly the ones who drive around LA, are rude, unforgiving, frenzied, and sometimes, just plain mean. I think without my realizing it, this experience on the roads has expanded to color my perception of LA, and of people in general. When I was first diagnosed and realized that I wouldn’t lose my hair from treatment, this was one of my first thoughts–that the mean people of LA would treat me just as meanly as they always had despite the fact that I was now sick, and emotional, and constantly contemplating serious questions, and that, basically, the world as I knew it was shifting under my feet.
I feel a little differently now.
I still think driving in LA breeds meanness from even the nicest people (this is one of the reasons why I don’t drive), but I don’t think the rude, unforgiving, frenzied, mean attitude that people adopt on the roads here is in any way representative of the population of LA–or of the world–as a whole.
My experience over the past few months is a great example. All I did was post a stupid video and continue to write honestly and prolifically about my experience living with cancer. You all have come out–and keep coming out–to read what I write. You write me thoughtful comments. You write me nice and long and sincere emails. You give me hugs and encouragement and emotional support. You draw me pictures. You sing me songs. You take me out to dinner or to lunch or to coffee.
You send me amazingly generous donations.
I am still blown away. The phrase “thank you” does not quite have enough words to encompass how grateful I am for your support. I definitively don’t feel deserving of your generosity–it seems so much bigger than what i’m doing with this blog. There are so many causes to support, yet you choose to support mine. I am just some weird girl from the Internet who has cancer. Millions of weird girls from the Internet have cancer. Millions of people in general have cancer and other serious health problems. And yet when I asked for help with my medical bills and insurance premiums, you answered. My Give Forward campaign ended on New Year’s Eve, with 41% of my $10,000 goal. This 41%, along with a few incredibly generous private donations from friends and strangers given behind the scenes, has brought my total to just slightly above that $10,000 goal. When I set that goal, I thought it was ambitious. Clearly I was wrong. This will more than cover my medical expenses for this year.
Dealing with the financial and insurance aspects of this disease have been almost more stressful for me than having the disease itself. So, in addition to covering my medical expenses, these donations are guaranteed to lower my stress level, and just make everything a little bit easier on me and my family going forward.
On a more macro level, you have also helped me recolor my perception of people in general. People aren’t their cars or their honks or their yells on the streets of LA. People are nice. When I become a planner maybe I will be able to help people feel less frustrated by the streets and the traffic. Or maybe I will be able to help shape health policy in this country so massive donation campaigns are no longer necessary to keep a person with cancer alive and taking their medications and doing what their doctors say. Either way–I will keep blogging honestly.