Remember how I was saying that not every migration story (even to an exotic locale like France) turns out to be a fairy tale? I contend and will defend to the death my belief that my life in France is not better than the life I might have had had I stayed in the U.S., it's just different. In the cosmic crapshoot of life, stuff happens wherever you are and you don't always get to have things your way.
About two months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Since then I have been learning an awful lot, not only about a part of the French healthcare system I was kinda hoping I'd never need to use, but also about people here in my host country. A new situation, new relationships, lots to learn.
Originally I was not going to post about this on the Flophouse. In fact, I pre-programmed a week's worth of posts when I was in the hospital so that no one would know. Since then I've changed my mind. As I've been talking with people privately via the phone and email, I've found all kinds of people that I've known for years who have faced this and I never knew. I've been given a lot of useful information about how to get through something like this from old friends and new ones. I've spent many hours on Loic's blog, Carnets de Seattle, (he's a French expat in Seattle being treated for leukemia) and it's been a wonderful resource and a great comfort to me. I'm also in touch with organizations here in France that have support groups and workshops.
I guess that I just came to the conclusion that keeping all that information to myself was both a form of delusional self-protection - yet another unhealthy manifestation of my own fears - and a kind of selfishness. Perhaps, just perhaps, there may be something in what I'm going through right now that just might be useful to someone else, somewhere on this planet. Can't know for sure but then I'll never know if I don't try to connect through my experience. It's what I've always tried to do with this blog and it would be contrary to my intent here to do otherwise.
It is not my desire to turn the Flophouse over to this topic alone. My diagnosis and treatment is a part of my life but I don't want it to define my whole life. I love to write and do research about all kinds of topics (citizenship, FATCA, immigration and the like) and I am going to keep the focus there because I love to write, I love to share interesting things I've discovered, and because it makes me happy. But from time to time I'll talk about this too.
May it be of benefit.