Friday, July 28, 2006

Reality Check Overtakes Whimsy

I just returned from the Cancer Center in Santa Fe. It was my six-month check up and all systems are good. I’m healthy and remain cancer free. Spouse Clif and I celebrated with a Santa Fe style red-chili laden breakfast.

A visit to the cancer treatment center is one filled with mixed emotions. And Santa Fe is such a small town that often we see new patients who we know either socially or through business. Some are responding well and others not so well. Any person with a soul feels it twist when a patient is rushed out of chemo and jetted upstairs to the main hospital. This is a place where humans are all one of a kind – people undergoing treatment to save their lives. In the cancer center it doesn’t matter if one is Arab, Israeli, Christian, Asian, or what ever. It’s about the commonality of our human condition.

I realize I am blessed, lucky and grateful that the cancer that grew in me was caught early enough to snuff it out and that my survival odds are good. So for another good six-month check up, there’s nothing like a breakfast enchilada, smothered in Chimayo chili at Tecolote Cafe.

Dakota called for an update. We chatted about life and I begged for a zucchini recipe to put on this blog. It was a good day to blog about things like too many zucchinis in my garden.

Before I opened a website that Dakota sent me to, I checked my incoming email. Suddenly the whimsy of zucchini chat faded with this subject line “AHS-1966 Classmate Has Taken A Turn For the Worse.” This was sad news about the forgotten classmate I wrote about in my blog “Good Things We Can Do For Free.” Parts of the new email read, “…(she) was hospitalized again over the weekend in grave condition. The cancer has spread aggressively in her brain, and there is nothing that can be done at this time to save her… The medical team is giving her only a few days to perhaps two weeks.”

Cancer significantly changed my life and perspective. Judging by the earlier emails forwarded about this classmate’s condition, it seemed as though she would pull through. My vision was to share with her my joy in her health even though we’ve not conversed since high school graduation 40 years ago. But now her precious time must be filled with family, comfort and peace.

The sad email also noted that this classmate remained a "decent and kind" person. For that I pray that as she transitions, volumes of love and light will envelop her with dignity, kindness and love.

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