Like so many other times my family, my friends, and my community banded together to hide the death of a friend with cancer.
This time the martyr to cancer is Blaine Savage, a 40-something devoted husband and loving father who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year and a half ago. During his journey he was lucky to have a strong supportive family, especially his wife, Marleigh. No rock was left unturned, no option untested in attempting to treat Blaine's cancer.
Last year The two picked up their four children and moved to Blaine's native Utah where physician's seemed more familiar with the disease. Even the best efforts couldn't keep a child of God away from his father.
Blaine passed away August 4, 2010!
He died two months ago and nobody dared to tell me. I was wondering why I hadn't heard any updates, why I hadn't heard anything, no comment, no email, nothing from the Savages.
When I asked why I wasn't told I always get a mumbling answer about how sick I was at the time or that I'd been hospitalized and they didn't want to upset me.
I kind of understand the motive, and yes, I'd often rather not know.
As it's said, when in Rome, do as Romans do. When you hear those three words, "You have cancer." like it or not, you are automatically signed up for the cancer club.
You now understand emotions some people may never experience. You can empathize with staring your mortality in the face.
But you're still human.
You are not just a walking, talking bundle of malicious proliferating cells, though unfortunately, questions from everybody can make you feel that way.
The gentle, "How are you feeling?" The hugs that are suddenly just soft touches. The wondering of where you are in treatment, what, exactly, you have, what the prognosis is, and where you go from here (of course you're not likely to hear that prognosis is death and you're meeting your maker) are questions we all have dealt with alongside our internal battle to live.
It's the cancer patient standard question list, much like the senior in high school standard questions or the pregnant woman's questions.
I.E. For seniors: "So when are you graduating? What are you doing after? Where are you going to college? What are you going for? etc? Etc?"
Or for the pregnant woman, "How far along are you? What are you having? When are you due? Have you picked any names?"
Everybody is curious and we're all curious about the same details.
All of us diagnosed suddenly know intimate details about the other without ever speaking. We're bonded.
And yes, when somebody dies, it makes the possible fatality of my disease all the more real. It reminds me I'm not invincible. I'm saddened and again overwhelmed by the possibility that I could be next.
After over four years of fighting, I'm still not ready, not perfectly comfortable with death.
I avoid funerals, especially when the death is by cancer, especially if it was someone I knew and loved. We all need boundaries to cope, and this is mine. And I suppose my family and friends are acting in my best interest when they make these decisions.
So when one of us dies, I'm often the last to know.
Please take a moment to remember Blaine Savage and Visit his blog www.nhsavageblog.blogspot.com
The pictures here are from a recent family trip to Seattle, one of Blaine's final wishes to repeat his honeymoon.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."