Hi, everyone ... I am surprised and very touched by the number of people who have already sent me supportive messages about this, but I wanted to write a little more about this. It´s not about me; I am well and safe and healthy, but I need your thoughts and prayers for someone else.
You may or may not know already that someone very close to me has been diagnosed with cancer. (For his sake, I´ll refrain from giving his name ... I don´t think he wants to be defined by this disease, and I don´t know how many people he has told.) The prognosis is as positive as it could possibly be; I have done a lot of research about this particular diagnosis since I heard the news, and, intellectually, I know there is very little to worry about. It´s a very slow-growing, non-aggressive form of cancer that is very, very treatable and he will only have to have radiation, not chemotherapy, so treatment will be (relatively) easy. Odds of successful treatment are approaching 100%, so, well, if you have to have cancer, this is as good as it gets.
But it´s still cancer, and that word scares the bejesus out of me. Despite the fact that I know this particular case is different than others I´ve encountered, it still scares me. My grandfather died of cancer, but I know that was largely (probably) a result of a lifetime of working in Newfoundland, Nova Scotian and northern Ontarian mines, and it was the 1970´s so treatments weren´t nearly as advanced as they are now. A friend died of cancer late last year; this one hit me close to home because she was very close to my own age and, while her diagnosis was initially quite optimistic, her particular cancer was very aggressive and moved too fast to be cured. Even my beloved little cat Zoe was diagnosed with cancer in November last year, and it was too advanced by that time for me to consider even trying treatment; I´d have just been putting her through a lot of pain for something that wasn´t doing to be cured. (But it still hurt like bloody hell to have to put her to sleep.)
I´m tearing up even as I type this. I know, I KNOW, this case is different and it is all going to be fine. But it is hard to be thousands of miles away, even though there is nothing I could do even if I was home. I know he would feel worse if I gave up my trip and flew home now -- he wouldn´t want me to give up something I´ve been waiting for this long! -- but it´s still hard, even though I think staying here, having an amazing time and telling him all about it through this blog and through emails and random phone calls will ultimately help him more.
So all I ask, whether you´re religious or spiritual or not, and whatever forms your prayers or good wishes may take, that you keep this person I love in your thoughts and wish him well. He´s one of the good ones ... the universe can´t afford to lose him just yet!