Two Cancers and the Difference Between

Cancer One:  Son, diagnosed December, 2001. 4 siblings: 16,13,8,less than 1.

Cancer Two: Husband, diagnosed October, 2014. 5 children, married 32 years.

C1: Medical College of Virginia, 90 miles from home.

C2: Mayo Clinic Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, 12 minutes from home.

C1: Ewing’s Sarcoma (Soft Tissue) , Right Pelvis. 44 months of chemotherapy, surgery to resect pelvic bones, long muscles.

C2: Acute Tcell Lymphoma, originating from the Thymus gland.  4 months of chemotherapy, Stem Cell Transplant, radiation.

C1: Medical College of Virginia, 90 miles from home.

C1: Borrowed cell phone, gifted phone cards from National Children’s Cancer Foundation.

C2: Samsung 5, laptop, ipad, gifted Kindle.  IM, PM, Skype.  Endless online medical journals, blogs.

The difference in some ways is incredibly vague.  Lack of technology meant it was just simpler.  That same lack meant connecting was much more difficult.  Want to keep that mother of that little guy you met pacing the hallways in your circle? There was no facebook to connect with.  I wrote her name down on a scratch piece of paper using a crayon from the Child Life room.  Made promises to remain friends, to think about her little boy everyday.  How hard is it to keep that kind of connection?   I never saw her again.

I stood in hallways tethered to a pay phone, carefully reciting what I wanted to say, so that I didn’t waste away those precious phone card minutes.  Calling home , hoping someone was keeping things together for the other kids.  Does technology make a difference? A picture is a thousand words.  I had no camera. I could imbed the memory, the sights, the smells, the feelings to my brain.  I promised myself I would not fade what I saw and how it felt.   A smart phone offers an artistic reminder of what is experienced.  I wanted to remember that moment my husband’s donor cells were infused.  Click.  The nurse even posed, motionless….it’s an important moment and part of the job.

Paperwork and endless forms with impossible deadlines and unreasonable requirements for enclosures were replaced with online billpay and online document filing. Friends can zap money, family could keep up.

Offering a driver’s seat perspective is now the blog’s job.  No one wants to read if it’s not detail filled and to the minute.  Everyone wants to ride along, without actually buckling in.

There’s a big difference.  One of the biggest is the range of story.  How far it travels and how people respond.  C1 was limited to those folks we actually spoke to, ran into, were friends with (the ones you see in town). Having to write a letter to let someone know what has transpired is asking a lot of a family with cancer.  Leaving thoughts on a blog is highly efficient, even though the difference between a letter to your Aunt and Uncle and a link to your blog is the difference between having them to dinner and a Las Vegas Buffet.

Technology brought proton beam radiation therapy.  And PET Scans.  And better sterile procedures.  It offers friendship and caring when there’s no one to hug you. It can eliminate fears or expose you to fears you hadn’t even thought of.

I can’t decide if C1 was different from C2.  It wasn’t easier or simpler.

Both C1 and C2 just………are.


About kat9090

Hafu (Half Japanese), Late Discovery Adoptee, Sister, Mom, Daughter, Wife, I cook, look back, look forward, lean left, drive a lot, write a lot, wish a lot, I will be square with you if you are square with me. Find me on Instagram @shojikat and Twitter @biteme9090
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