I asked my cousin, "Does it seem that a lot of people are getting cancer?" She said, "It's just the age we are." Lately, it does seems that no matter the direction in which I cast my mind, I alight on thoughts of someone who is struggling right now.
One of our much-loved friends has a big tumor inside his digestive tract. When his family visited us last month, he looked like a perfect picture of health. He even played soccer with his boys in the afternoon, before taking his final chemo dose at our home that evening. He's now doing radiation therapy and will undergo surgery June 2.
Another friend, so like a sister, with whom I shared a bedroom and petty squabbles through high school, also found a tumor. Hers was in her chest, behind her lungs, and she blasted it with chemo all last fall and winter. They say it's just a pea size now. I know this worries her. She wants it altogether gone.
I also just learned that my niece's mother is being biopsied this week. Meanwhile, another friend is procrastinating on scheduling her final breast reconstruction surgery.
And now, my mother-in-law is uncharacteristically laid low. Her cancer, which has been quietly contained for 20-plus years, now shows hints of rousing itself from dormancy. Mom is a force of nature. She owns a clothing store and comes to New York quarterly to shop for it. She walks the sidewalks of the city, miles and miles of them, scouring the garment district, choosing items by the dozen for her store. Her energy always astounds me, as does her work ethic. So when she told me last night that she is in too much pain to open her store these days, I realized with a pang of fear that this might really be serious.
Dear God, please take care of her. Please take care of them all.
Update: After more tests, doctors say my mom-in-law's cancer has not returned. The tumors are still there, but they are calcified, which means the tissue isn't alive, ergo, not growing. It's good news. She is still in a lot of pain, through. It travels to different parts of her body. She has a new doctor and they are trying to track down the cause. She has more confidence in this new doctor, and sounds brighter already.