A Lonely Tree

  • It is quite evident I have lost a substantial number of loyal readers who counted on this blog to air all kinds of issues relating to living with MS and other chronic conditions. Posts used to draw 40, even 50 responses that were intelligent and provocative. I knew the first names of so many of you. I felt we counted on each other to be there and engage. Alas, those days are over.
  • Those of you who still check in, even occasionally, may recall posts that worried how I would be able to keep the blog alive and vital once I signed a contract for Chasing Hope, my new book. That happened in January. The end of story should be obvious to all. Journey Man is dying a slow death. It has been hard to watch.

I cannot complain. No one has done me wrong. I have loved tending to the blog. But tend you must. It cannot survive and flourish on its own. It comes down to choices. I have been musing about hope for a long time. I care deeply about the subject. The trip to the Vatican for an adult stem cell conference and the subsequent stem cell clinical trial became part of the book. I hope to finish it by the end of the year. I suspect you all will have abandoned ship by then. I do not know how to reverse the tides. It will be what it will be.

I cannot apologize for making a difficult choice. I will have to live with the consequences. I am not going to say goodbye. That would be just too melodramatic for me. I will continue to write when I can. Think of me as the lonely tree in the forest. Maybe someone will hear something.






44 Responses to A Lonely Tree

  1. Jenny July 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Wind blowing through the branches of that lonely tree in the forest……I think that’s HOPE. 🙂

    • Mischele July 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

      We’re always here for you.

  2. Kat July 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    Please keep writing when you can. I always learn something from the dialogue that results from your insightful writing. Good luck with your book. -Kat

  3. CP July 22, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    I’ll admit I can’t wait for your next book. The topic of “hope” is multi-faceted and with your writing skills and intellect I’m sure you’ll deliver with creating a real page turner. I fell upon this blog when I saw your Youtube videos regarding your stem cell trial. I don’t live with a chronic illness though I know many that do. I work in health care and I have encouraged patients to view this blog to perhaps find a supportive community. I had a friend that was ill and we use to read this blog and discuss the topics over lunch. My friend died last year. I suppose I still view this blog so I can imagine the conversations we’d have while eating scallops and drinking martinis. Richard, good luck with the book. I’ll be in NYC this fall and if I buy you dinner could we discuss “hope” over scallops and martinis? Just kidding, I couldn’t afford NYC seafood and alcohol 🙂

    • Richard M. Cohen July 23, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Seafood and alcohol should cuire any disease.


      • Jan July 29, 2016 at 9:13 am #

        CP, very sorry re the loss of your friend.

  4. megan July 22, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

    I am always hopeful that I’ll find your latest post when I check Feedly, but understand why you haven’t been able to tend to it for a while now. My wife has MS, and I know that she has taken great solace in your posts, and oftentimes has shared them with family to give us another window into her struggles. I hope that once your book is finished you might share your words more in this space, you might be surprised who comes back into the forest….I know we will.

    • Richard M. Cohen July 23, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      I shall return.


      • Kathy Sullivan July 24, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

        Please return!

  5. DianeT July 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    Good luck with your book Richard. I look forward to reading it. You have left a legacy of thoughtful insights with your written words – both on this blog and in your books. Thank you.

  6. Jeree July 22, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    I’ve just discovered your blog thanks to a dear friend. I look forward to your book and I also look forward to perusing your blog and catching up. I will be here waiting for you once your book is finished, hoping you will have much to share. I’m happy I found you and grateful for my friend.

  7. Pat H July 23, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    While I have not been a poster here, I added checking this to my daily routine from the very beginning. I’d like to thank you for making the effort, and effort it is, to create and maintain this delivery mechanism for this specialized writing. Your career as a communicator is long and (you’ll excuse the pun) storied. I personally wish to thank you for doing this. Whatever your activities are going forward, I wish you well, sir. We’re members of a club that we’d really, really rather not have joined, but you’ve added to the positive. What better can one do? Be well, Richard. Give your lovely wife another hug for all of us.

  8. Barbara July 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    We are out here and perhaps recognizing how busy you are.
    Don’t think we don’t await every new post, and the book.
    Take care of yourself.

  9. JoanZ July 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Not lost, just silent. Presidential election static/noise just has me peacefully unplugged. Keep writing when you can Richard, we need your voice of reason.

  10. Amy Corcoran-Hunt July 23, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Do your thing. And who can do everything? I look forward to your new book and will keep checking in here, ya never know. Happy writing.

  11. Rosanne July 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    I’ll bet those 40-50 people check your blog all the time – I check it often and will continue to do so. Wishing you well.

  12. Brian L. July 23, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    Same here. I still check every day and am disappointed often. I’ve noticed that your posts have become spaced further and further apart but I understand that writing a book has its challenges. But I’ve gotten so much from this blog. It’s the first one I’ve ever followed. You speak for me. You inform me. You inspire me. I respond on occasion but only if I feel I have something intelligent to say. Come to think of it, that’s probably why my responses have been spaced further and further apart! Please don’t think it’s for lack of interest. So please come back when you can. I’ll be checking.

  13. henriette July 24, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    You will always be my favorite blog no matter how often you choose to check it. I’ve even settle for semi-annual. thanks

  14. Louisa July 24, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    Agreed. I think most still look for your posts. I’ve also missed the old regular posters and have worried that they have felt left behind, another loss. I wish that they would post again. I enjoyed some of those responses as much as your original post. You know who you are, folks!!!

  15. Sharon July 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Will keep looking for your comments Can u give us a hint about if the stem cells have helped?? Will look forward to your book!

  16. Sue In TX July 25, 2016 at 12:59 am #

    I have not given up on you or your blog, or me. but I am weary. And I do exist even if you do not hear me. I don’t think you should worry about your readers, they will return because your blog is important to us. I doubt fair weather friends live in this forest.

    • Dale July 27, 2016 at 12:36 am #

      What an awesome expression Sue! No, I seriously doubt that there are any fair weather friends in this tribe. They wouldn’t be tough enough.

    • Nancy Cincotta July 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      I check your blog often. I really look up to you in doing so much while living with this hateful disease. I can’t seem to do anything meaningful. I saw you once at the ms center in Manhattan, I was getting a infusion of tysabri , you were waiting for your doctor. I regret not saying hello, didn’t want to disturb you. I will look forward to reading your next book, thank you for all of your writing.

  17. Liz July 25, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    Thank you Sue. That’s exactly what I wanted to say, but don’t have the words.

  18. grandma July 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

    I always look forward to your blog and I’m looking forward to your book. You contribute so much to anyone who reads your work. I’m not clever enough or as intelligent as most of your readers but you make me think and for awhile I can enjoy being challenged and not focused on my “not so gently used” body. Thank you again and Good Luck with the book!

  19. Jack July 26, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    Thank you for providing a place for thought-provoking, sometimes comfortable, sometimes challenging comments. I will keep checking back here to see if there are any new posts. Hope springs eternal.

  20. Joan L July 27, 2016 at 12:01 am #

    I admit that I kept checking and not finding anything, and forgot to check back until now. You’re the first blog I ever followed, too. I enjoy it very much even though I don’t comment that often. I actually became a little more unavailable recently as I took a part-time job. I have to say it has really been difficult. My MS really started kicking my butt with the stress of starting a new job. It has taken a few months but finally I have calmed down about it and started having time for things I used to do like checking your blog. So we all have our time outs and are certainly willing to wait for yours. I wish you nothing but good luck and good health and look forward to reading you again.

  21. Dale July 27, 2016 at 12:31 am #

    Still here. Miss Christopher and his knowledge base though. Will admit to backing off from commenting some when things got depressing, but a lot of us stuck around through the great Journeyman Hack adventure so don’t expect us to leave you alone anytime soon.

  22. Vikki July 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    I do still check in on this blog and wish you the very best with the book. I also had my first round of Lemtrada this year so I have been preoccupied with the task of getting better from the treatment. You are an eloquent writer, I will be waiting for your posts!

  23. Becky July 27, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    I too looked forward to your blog. It opened my eyes to what challenges you and others live with and I was not alone. Good luck and hope to hear from you again

  24. Stacey July 27, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    I have always felt part of the community here even though I think I have only commented once before. Yours has been the only MS-related blog I read. You distill the awfulness of this disease into lucid prose. I am relieved you aren’t abandoning the blog, and I am looking forward to your next posts–however infrequent they may be.

  25. Betty July 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Not entirely your fault Richard. It seemed to me that we lost our collective buzz. Personally, I was missing a diversity of voices and experiences, and the clever anecdotes that would keep our discussions ongoing. Fair weather here? Hell no. Stormy days with their trials and tribulations brought us together. They can again. Good luck with the book, we’re all waiting, but in the meantime please throw us a
    bone. 🙂

  26. Louisa July 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    Ok! So that’s 30, Richard, and it’s summer. I loved the fair weather friend comment. No, we are thick and thinners, coming here looking for a break in the clouds maybe. But we have not run off to the popular table.

  27. Jan July 29, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    Richard, you can see here that the shipmates are not swimming away.

    I have an idea for you, given that you are on deadline for the book and still seem interested. I got totally swamped as well and can relate.

    Suggest that you stay committed here, yet be doable and predictable. What writer does not have a deadline?

    So give yourself one here that you can easily meet plus help us readers by knowing when to check. Say, the last Saturday of each month or whatever day, until your book is done. Set and meet an expectation (once a month minimum; maybe go for twice) and then after that go back to whenever. There’s nothing quite like a hard deadline, I’m sure you know. Don’t let yourself off the hook here.


  28. Jan July 29, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    One more thing… I told someone recently something I learned a while ago, that, “Practice makes _______.”

    Nope, the answer is not “perfect.”

    Practice an axle with crummy form all you want and keep wiping out… So the key is to routinely practice the right way. We all like how and what you write, so keep practising here; make this a routine to not give up! (It may even help with your book).

  29. jojo July 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    You are trite, you have the money and clout to seek and receive the best treatment there is. We do not need another book on the trials of MS that each of us live with everyday. What we need is action, petitions to fight big pharma. Woe is me is overrated.

    • grandma nancy July 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      And you seem quite mean spirited, lojo. We all touch each other’s lives and that is a

      positive to embraces while navigating this condition. I thank Richard and the others

      who post.

    • Rosanne August 1, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      I’m sorry but I don’t think you speak for the majority of this blog.

      • Rosanne August 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

        Sorry, my message was geared to jojos’ post.

  30. Su July 30, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    i mostly read and rareiy comment –but I so enjoy reading your posts — they are a beacon to me “someone understands…thank goodness”…

  31. Yvonne August 1, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    Agree with Betty. I also missed the diversity of voices and experiences that were generated by your thought provoking post. I always peeked in to see if there was any new post from you. I was still here. We all knew you would be busy with your book and the blog post would get fewer and fewer. The good news is the gangs still here so once your book is published there will be a LOT to talk about and I look forward to you once again leading a rousing discussion through your post!

  32. Lorraine Woods August 8, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    Thank you, Richard, for your compassionate, revealing, and mindful musings. Your writings are always enlightening and refreshing and I so appreciate your perspective. Your new book about hope is a subject I often question. Though I still Live my life in a wheelchair, there are times when I feel defeated and look to others for inspiration. More than anything, I appreciate knowing I am not alone in this disease .

  33. Tara G August 9, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    I just discovered your blog and hope that you continue to post, even if once in a while. Diagnosed with MS in 2014 and still figuring out this whole crazy thing out…Some days I feel defeated, others are pretty great – but this disease has changed me to the core and I find solace in others who are battling this with me.

  34. Patricia L King August 13, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

    Richard I believe there are many such as myself that simply stalk you through your blog.
    I find that often I don’t think my words would matter.
    But know we are many that quietly read and reflect with you.