I’ve never met Derek Miller; I’ve seen him on a panel, corresponded with him, spoken on the phone once, read his blog countless times and – like much of the podcastiverse – heard and enjoyed his music. Yet I feel like I know the guy well (partly because he’s a superb blogger with a very personal style). Like me, he has young children and enjoys working with words, and I’ve found myself doing that little nod of recognition while reading his blog more times than I can remember.
So it’s distressing to know that he’s in a battle with cancer, even if the prognosis so far seems positive. Derek is sharing updates on his diagnosis and treatment in his blog, written with the same directness and honesty that makes the rest of his writing so engaging:

Dr. Brown will open me up, cut out a section of my colon, and stitch the remaining bits together so that they will heal. I will be in St. Paul’s Hospital (where I was born, incidentally, as were my kids) for at least a week, and Dr. Enns advises me that I will be away from work for something like two months.

No one yet knows whether I will need followup chemotherapy or radiation, or further surgery. I expect and hope that I will be back to something like normal in the middle of the spring, and that I will be able to enjoy the summer of 2007 in fine form.

That, so far, is the plan—a bit of an overwhelming one, but a plan nonetheless. So I’m calling this, January 31, Day Zero of my cancer treatment. It’s like Ground Zero, since everything up to now has been diagnosis, and it’s convenient to start February 1 as Day One.

For so many people, and those who care about them, a cancer diagnosis lands them in completely uncharted territory. So when Derek writes about the path he’s taking, he’s doing much more than allowing a compelling drama to unfold on the pages of his blog. He’s helping a lot of other folks – people who won’t get the sobering news from their own doctors until months or years from now – understand a little better what may be in store for them.

And as so many of his readers have said in comments on his blog, we hold every hope that his story will also serve as one more example of how cancer can be beaten.

Good luck, Derek.

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