Friday, March 18, 2011

Epidemic Proportions

In which our Heroine is Glad to be over a few Hurdles. 

Three days ago, my brother Mike called me and told me of a good friend of his who has been diagnosed with cancer.  It is a very advanced stage of thyroid cancer in a 38 year old woman.  Two days ago my mother told me of a member of our extended family who has a very terminal cancer.  One day ago my friend Marel called to tell me about—I don’t know—ten people she knows who have recently come down with cancer.  For instance, her 23 year old brother in law just had surgery to remove cancer from his bladder, of all things.  Twenty-three???  Unbelievable.
Marel’s uncle, a very cool man who used to travel the European continent playing in rock bands, has been diagnosed with brain cancer—what those familiar with the disease call a glioma (basically, that means REALLY BAD—a grade 4 terminal brain cancer).  Apparently, he’d had some seizures and his friends forced/tricked him into going to the ER.  I assume he did this with little grace as he is accustomed to living “off the grid.”  A few months ago when Marel told him about her friend that had brain cancer, he wrote some beautiful words to her about how it can make you stronger and that it can really improve your creative capacities as an artist.  (At least, this is what she claims.  She forgot to send the actual letter to me).  Anyway, in response to his current problem, Marel basically sent his letter back to him.  In what is possibly the worst case of tragic irony ever, I hope his own words give him comfort. 
Also, Marel has a cousin who has just had her second child and has breast cancer.  This is so sad to have such a recent addition to the family and yet to be plagued with cancer.  Marel knows of several other women who have had this problem.  These developments make me feel very uncertain about the medical field at large because my understanding was that a woman who has nursed babies has little chance of getting breast cancer.  Shockingly, she is currently nursing her second child and has breast cancer!!!  Also unbelievable. 
Dear Marel,
When you called yesterday to tell me congratulations on my good news, I assumed the conversation would be a normal one—heartfelt and fuzzy, but ultimately not a very impactful message.  I was wrong.  Like all good scholars, you proved your point by providing excellent reasons, examples, and support material.  You’re right that I am very blessed to be at my current stage of recovery.  As I said in my writings before, I feel like I have been privileged to be on the fast-track learning program.  I am so glad that I am past the initial stages of shock/horror, surgery recovery, and the emotional strain of knowing my days are very numbered.  Spring is almost here in Alaska, the sun is shining, and it is all rainbows and green pastures from here as far as I can tell.
Your friend in good health,
It just seems to me that there is an influx of cancer recently—affecting people younger and healthier than ever.  In my mind, a little bar graph shows improbable cancers reaching epidemic proportions.  Is this my imagination, or does anyone else see this trend? 

1 comment:

  1. I do think it's reaching epidemic proportions... as you know. And yes, I did send the actual email. To your gmail. But I will send it again. You will enjoy it. And it will probably lead to several more blog options...