Cancer Rears Its Head

Wednesday evening I came across this article by Roger Ebert and reposted it, with the status: “I love this guy.”   In Ebert’s post, he was talking about making some changes–pulling pack because of his health, but also looking forward to new interests and endeavors.  He also said,

At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.

This was something that, when I read it, I found myself looking forward to.  Hearing what this smart and passionate man had to say about illness–about living with his illness.  For awhile that evening, he was on my mind.

On Thursday morning, I received an email from a friend of mine in Australia, S. In 2003, she and three other women had been roommates at a retreat I affectionately call “Cancer Camp.” She’d gotten in touch with two of the women, L and M, and we’d been planning a Skype reunion call.  But S’s email was to tell me that our plans might have to be put on hold because L is in the hospital.  Her cancer is now in her spine, her spinal fluid, and her brain. She recently had a shunt put into her brain and now she has had radiation to her throat, making her unable to talk. L was already Stage 4 when we met nine years ago. She had two little ones and was determined then to see them grow, and she’s done that. I hope she can continue to do that–but everything is fragile, and life doesn’t always continue just because we plan for it to–as I was reminded on Thursday afternoon, when I heard the news that Roger Ebert had died.

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