My brother, Reid, age 56, has just been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. A nasty, large tumor in his lower esophagus has taken away his ability to swallow. He is experiencing some pain, as are the rest of us who know him and have been privileged to be part of his family and his friend. On Friday, he was fitted with a stent, which will allow him to eat and swallow the foods he so much loves. We don't yet know whether the cancer has metastisized to any other organs.
On Saturday night, Bill and I visited and had dinner with J. and her husband, long time friends of about 30 years. J. was recently diagnosed with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer. She is undergoing a course of chemo which will hopefully allow her many more years of happiness with her children and grandchildren. This particular type of lung cancer grows slowly and is not terribly aggressive, giving all of us hope for a successful recovery. These days many people live with cancer for many years, as is evident with Presidential Candidate, John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth. It was a delight Saturday evening to spend time watching J. with one of her adult daughters, realizing the closeness of the two and validating for me once again, the meaning of family.
I've spent the last couple of days in shock ... feeling like someone has struck me in the gut with a lead pipe. I'm sure I have that glazed-eye-deer-in-the-headlights look. But the visit with my friend, J., brought me much peace and the reminder that the work of life does not happen while we're sitting on a comfortable sofa reading a funny novel. It happens during the darkest of times ... in times of sadness and in times of coming together to be supportive of one another. I will drive up to New Hampshire on Wednesday to spend some time with Reid and to once again renew our ties as family.
Please keep both Reid and J. in healing light and send them prayers of love.