Posted on June 2, 2005 at 10:51 am

Warning: I’m not in a happy place, so avoid me today if this is going to bum you out.

I’m going to share this with you, because it’s all I can think about. 

My senior year roomate from college married a wonderful man. He makes her laugh (he makes everyone laugh) and he’s a Monty Python fan.  He sings, he plays guitar, he tells jokes well, and he’s cute as a button.  He has spent years working toward becoming a public health advocate, racking up degrees in public policy and from law school, and recently completing his residency requirements to become a doctor.  All of this he has done because he wants more than anything in this world to help people who need help. And he has cancer.

You could tell that was coming, couldn’t you?

He is a survivor of childhood cancer.  Now in his late 30’s, he has been fighting a new round for two years, diving in and out of surgery and radiation, currently struggling through a 30 week course of chemo that is currently making him too nauseous to consider eating.  And his next surgery is coming up the first week of July, when they might have to do away with one of his eyes to get at the current sarcoma that’s making half of his face numb.

They have an exquisite little boy who is 2, and happily oblivious to all of this around him.  Thank the heavens.

So why am I telling you all of this?

It’s what I’m thinking about at the moment.  I can’t knit for thinking about it.  I can’t wash dishes I’m so paralized by this. It feels too selfish.  I worry about my dearest friend who has been in my life for 24 years and how lasting happiness has been spare in her life and how this man brought her everything she ever deserved, like peace of mind and a promise to love her forever.  And a beautiful son.  I worry about her husband and how awful must his fear be, and how his whole life he has lived with the spectre of cells that misbehave, and now within sight of his life’s goal, with a son and a wife and the new opportunities of doing that good work, he is hobbled by his disease.  I worry he will die. I worry the world will never get the work done that he wanted all his life to do.  And there’s no power I can muster to do anything about it. 

What am I left with but to try and hang out with them when I can and compare options for a celebratory Carribean vacation with good kid amenities, and whether Revenge of the Sith is as good as it needed to be, and if they want Vietnamese takeout for dinner?  I really wished that I lived closer to them so I could do more, but I don’t.  I have a stupid mom schedule with breaks just long enough to do a load of laundry, but not enough to drive into Boston to offer my company.  So much happens day to day; the cancer makes life hectic for them, and things change so fast.  I see them so little.  I’m afraid I’ll miss him, once and for all.

And yet, he has as good a chance of beating this as he has of not beating this.  He seems optimistic for the most of it.  Remember that I told you that he’s a Monty Python fan?   I bought him a button from Spamalot that says "I’m Not Dead Yet"

He wears it to his chemo treatments.