Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Being There

My mother had cancer when I was a kid -- cervical cancer to be precise. Despite this, however, I never fully understood exactly what cancer was or what it could do to a person, until I attached it to a word I was already aware of -- one that terrified the living hell out of me: leukemia.

I can't tell you why a little kid had such a fear of leukemia; maybe I'd heard the word on Quincy at some point, or maybe I'd seen a TV news special that focused on the fight of some other child against the disease -- his or her body withering away before it had even had a chance to fully develop. Whatever the reason, since almost day-one, the notion of a person battling leukemia has hit home for me like little else.

Which is why it's important that I tell you about Manda.

I've described a lot of my own trials and traumas on this site -- this little experiment of mine -- one of the most difficult of which involved the removal of a tumor from my brain two years ago this month. (Where Is My Mind?: Part 1/10.12.06) (Where Is My Mind?: Part 2/12.26.06) But I got off easy, and I know it. My tumor, despite being quite large, wasn't cancerous. Sure, the operation was rough and the recovery has occasionally been rougher, but I've never had to live in fear of that particular entity leading a rebellion of my body against me and taking my life outright.

Once again, I didn't have cancer -- but Manda does.

For those of you who've never read her stuff, the woman I'm talking about is a regular contributor to the wonderful little family of bloggers who've tended to orbit Pajiba.com and all of its offshoots. I consider myself lucky to be counted among their ranks. A few days ago, Manda revealed that she's been diagnosed with acute leukemia, and since then she's described in vivid detail the early stages of her medical treatment. Where normally you might figure this kind of thing to make for a pretty somber read, trust me, it's anything but. To say that Manda's taking such a daunting proposal with an almost supernatural level of grace and good humor is an understatement of the highest order. Her descriptions of what she's now having to go through -- the way it all makes her feel; the way she's dealing with it -- is of course fascinating, but it's also startlingly life-affirming in its matter-of-factness.

Manda's facing something that I'd imagine is terrifying, but you'd never know it from reading what she has to say about the whole thing.

And you should absolutely be reading what she has to say.

(Whoa, Camel! -- www.alabamapink.blogspot.com)

Please keep her in your thoughts, folks -- and good luck Manda.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out and the well wishes. I've long read, enjoyed, and admired your writing.

Oh and much luck to you and your wife on the impending womb munchkin.

Amy said...

Ha. Your blog kills me. I know that in your very commercial-like MySpace bulletin you said you couldn't be funny about this, but again, you were quite funny.

I have a - well, friend is a very strong word, and acquaintance doesn't quite cut it, so we'll stick with "friend" - who writes a lot like you. He makes me laugh too, even when he doesn't mean to.