Tuesday, February 01, 2005

no alarms and no surprises- silent silence

Thirty-seven years old is really, really far too young. I'm taking a break from the usual navel gazing, idiotic ramblings to say that Ivan Noble used writing in a way that makes me believe in the good of journals and diaries. He was so honest about his ordeal with brain cancer that it was disturbing to read, and yet really gave you a sense for how much strength it takes to handle such an illness. And Ivan, he had strength by the truckloads.

I'm lucky enough to know very few people personally who have faced such circumstances. But every one that I have known has been a powerhouse of courage. A very new friend M was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last year. Hodgkin's is probably the most treatable cancer out there. But M's GP blew off her initial symptoms, so it wasn't caught until it was late stage. I watched over the last year. It seemed that the cancer was chipping away at her, but it was actually the treatment. The chemo and the radiation were ravaging her badly. She looked her weakest, almost a ghost, but M was actually at her strongest then, almost a superhero. And to see someone go through that, to see them lose 30-40 pounds when they were previously a 110 pounds soaking wet, to see her last month with full rosy cheeks and flowing hair down to her shoulders, that really gives you a sense for human resilience.

I know M supports as much as I do this perfect paragraph written by Ivan in his last ever diary entry:
I will end with a plea. I still have no idea why I ended up with a cancer, but plenty of other cancer patients know what made them ill.

If two or three people stop smoking as a result of anything I have ever written then the one of them who would have got cancer will live and all my scribblings will have been worthwhile.
Please, please, if you do, please stop smoking. I caught my friend E yesterday trying to sneak a smoke in the back of our company building, and annoyed him into coming inside with me without lighting up. I know it's obnoxious, I know I'm encroaching on people's civil liberties. But I can't help it, nowadays I can't stop myself from harassing people about this. Life is too fleeting to do things that are guaranteed to hurt yourself. Not to mention, one of my best friends might be standing next to you, and secondhand smoke wreaks all sorts of havoc too.

Sorry for the schmaltz. It's been that kind of a day.

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