A Tale of Two Cancers

Yesterday began with bad news and ended with good, and left me pondering the randomness of life.

Yesterday morning came a message that a high school classmate had lost his battle with cancer. Yesterday evening came a social media post that a friend had beaten her cancer to the point that she needs little further treatment.

I feel a bit like Scrooge, pondering a Christmas yet to come that mixes great sorrow with great joy. How capricious life can be! Is it any wonder it may seem meaningless at times?

(Image: “Fuck Cancer,” by Myriam von M, on Wikimedia Commons.)

We, and those we love, and those we don’t even know, are afflicted with pains and sufferings and difficulties too numerous to count–TNTC, a phrase doctors applied to the tumors filling my spleen back in the mid-1990s (tumors which thankfully turned out to be benign)–and it is impossible to know who will be next, and when, and where. Yet, we have it within ourselves to make meaning out of even the worst things, if we can find the wisdom and the courage and the strength to do it.

At this moment, however, I am at a loss. I must say goodbye to one friend, while I wait to see another and greet her with a congratulatory hug. And it all seems so terribly arbitrary.

So fare thee well, my friends, whatever trials you face. May the meaning you find in them, or the meaning you make out of them, light the world a little more.

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4 Responses to A Tale of Two Cancers

  1. I think about how random and arbitrary death can be. I think about this a lot, especially as in the last few weeks two women I know discussed their husbands dead in their respective homes with no warning. I compare my own situation over the last several years, discovering two different and deadly blood cancers and vanquishing them both. Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the bone marrow transplant that wiped away both my Multiple Myeloma and my Leukemia and gave me back my life. When people ask me how it is that I’m still alive when so many others are not, I shrug and say “the Universe isn’t done with me yet.” That may be true, but it’s all so damn ineffable.

    • I’m thrilled that you’re doing so much better, my friend! And I could surely relate to one of the ladies you alluded to: Like her with her husband, I performed CPR on Jill to no avail (and still curse myself for a failure for my slowness to respond). All that is left to us in the randomness of life, it seems, is to be grateful for the days we have and the people with whom we share them. And I am grateful for you!

      Wishing you always and only the best,

  2. Charlene Hunt says:

    We will miss our classmate Mark. Hug your cancer free friend tight when you do! We don’t know what lies ahead for us down this road as we travel. Let’s live life to the fullest and always be happy!