Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0090 - Cancer Casualties

Yesterday, I heard that my aunt's sister died on Sunday. It was just two months ago when my aunt and I spoke on the telephone about her sister's pending diagnosis of lung cancer. Then, just one month ago, my cousins wrote to me confirming the diagnosis and adding that the cancer had spread to their aunt's lymph nodes. Today was her funeral.

Cancer has killed so many people in our family over the years, the first traumatic incident being the untimely death of my uncle of lung cancer at roughly my age about 20 years ago. The cancer casualties continued with my grandfather, both grandmothers, and my father-in-law. And now I am battling cancer.

Of course, this particular day isn't about my problems. Still, I'm having a difficult time clearly demarcating my worries from this sad news. Nothing seems easy and uncomplicated these days.

I wanted to attend the funeral and intended to do so, but it took my wife last night to remind me that I wasn't really up to the travel. Fatigue and diarrhea strike quickly and without warning. She was right. It would have been crazy for me to try to do a trip of about 100 miles today alone in the car.

My aunt has lost her sister. I'm still here and battling hard. I'm confident my outcome will be different from that of so many members of my extended family. My sadness is strangely blended with optimism for myself.

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