I was diagnosed with Stage T1,G2 bladder cancer in August 2012.

I'm writing this blog because, to quote a fellow bladder cancer patient, "I now have a PhD in bladder cancer." I'm a reader and researcher and want to do something with all of the information swirling inside my head.

I'm also writing because the Cancer Support Center in Homewood, IL, has taken me in, thrown its collective arms around me, and swept me into a community of support and understanding and, well, love that only fellow travelers can really understand. They're helping me become an advocate. They're helping me live better.

The New York Times sponsors a project called "Picture Your Life After Cancer." There you can upload a photograph of yourself and tell your story. Laurie Comings' entry includes the following comment, "When tallied up, no, it is not a blessing, and never tell a cancer patient that it is." I've named the blog "Cancer is Not a Gift" because of her comments.

The avatar for "Cancer is Not a Gift" is an image of a papillary low-grade transitional-cell bladder carcinoma (grade 1) from an article by Abbaszadeh S, et al, (2011) J Cytol Histol 2:112. Used by permission. Copyright: © 2011 Abbaszadeh S, et al.