“It is what it is.”

That’s become my motto over the last year or so.  Bad things happen in this world, and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.  All you can do is try to deal with it and go on with your life as best you can.

 “It is what it is.”

 I don’t do these “West World” blogs very often.  If I’m going to write 500-1000 words, I’d rather it be toward a new story or novel rather than what I think of the latest Hollywood remake or how much I loved last night’s episode of True Blood or The Walking Dead.  After all, that’s what my faithful readers really want: more of my fiction, not  details of my everyday reality.  That’s what Twitter and Facebook are for. 

And so I try, as much as possible, to keep my private life, well… private.  Unless they are in costume, I don’t like to post pictures of my children on the internet, and I don’t talk a lot about family on Twitter and Facebook (unless, of course, they do something really funny or memorable that I can’t help but share).  But even fiction writers have to live in the real world, with real problems, and rather than post a simple status update on Facebook or a short 140 character Tweet that would leave my friends, family, and fans confused and concerned, I thought it best to get it all out in the open.  

“It is what it is.”

My wife has cancer.  I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that, but it’s a fact.  She’d been having shoulder and arm pain for some time.  At first, they thought it was due to a degenerative disc in her neck.  She went to physical therapy, complaining of shoulder pain.  “Diabetics get that,” they told her.  “We don’t know why.”  And so, she just learned to live with it…for a while.  In recent months, the pain kept her awake at night, cursing and crying.  She went to our family doctor, who promptly sent her to an orthopedic specialist.  The orthopedist did X-rays, then calmly told her, “I don’t want to alarm you, but this looks like it might be cancer.”  

Yeah, way to not alarm someone!

She was sent to an oncologist, who examined the X-ray, examined her, and didn’t think it was cancer.  He thought it was due to the degenerative disc in her neck.  And so, we breathed a sigh of relief and–

Not so fast!  They needed to order more tests…just to be sure.

And so an MRI was done.  


And so they scheduled her for a surgical biopsy.  This was Horrorfind Weekend, which was why I had to cancel my appearance.  Instead of standing at my table, surrounded by friends and icons of Horror cinema, I sat in a hospital waiting room, surrounded by strangers and visions of real life horror.  This was two weeks ago.  Two weeks.  And no news.  No word of any kind. 

Until yesterday. 

Yesterday, we had a follow-up visit with the doctors, and they gave us the bad news.  It was cancer, but not bone cancer.  Instead, it was a slow-growing cancer that is normally found only in soft tissue.  For some unknown reason, it had taken root in the humorus of my wife’s right arm, and there it started to grow.

 “It is what it is.”

 So now we just have to deal with it and get on with our lives as best we can.  There will be surgery in the coming weeks.  They will remove a good portion of the bone in her arm and replace it with metal.  They think this is the primary site.   They think that, once it is removed, she will make a full recovery.  No chemo.  No radiation.  But they’ve ordered a few more tests.   You know…just to be sure.

 “It is what it is.”

And so, life goes on as best it can.  There are a lot of questions for the future, and not a lot of answers right now.  I am so very grateful that I have a wonderful, loving family, and the greatest friends anyone could hope for.  And I plan to still make my scheduled appearances for the rest of the year, to promote my upcoming novel, Spook House, and to write the next chapter of my Legacy of the Gods series, but first and foremost, I need to be there for my wife and my sons. 

Thank you all in advance for your understanding, for your thoughts, your prayers and your good will.  I am grateful to have so many faithful readers, and I hope that any future updates will be happy ones.

Michael West