Saturday, July 12, 2008


I get up at 6 am weekdays. I put on the coffee (only Costa Rican coffee passes through my lips), make lunch for whomever will be out working or attending school, and then I switch on my computer. Fueled by a cup of dark nirvana, I check my email accounts, visit the New York Times, a weather site, blogs I follow and then do my rounds at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Discussions Boards. I read selected new posts; I respond to some of them. This is my virtual community, a community I wish I weren't a member of, but happy to have stumbled upon during the waning days of my remission from AML.

There are questions to answer (and sometimes ask), encouragement to bestow, condolences to offer. There's no tip-toeing through explosive issues; we cut right to the chase and blatantly discuss the day-to-day issues that dog someone with blood cancer. It's not pretty and it's not fun, but it's an incredible group of people from all over the planet who gather to share ideas, discuss non-cancer topics, even tell jokes. Laughing out loud is a good antidote to crying into your computer keyboard.

Sometimes I'm afraid of what I might find, and with good reason. The odds are against us, and there has been so much suffering and death. But still I make my rounds, checking in on my virtual friends, offering what I can. I've questioned whether or not this is healthy for me. After all, I want to put leukemia in a lead-lined container and drop it into the ocean, not dwell on it. But then I think, maybe I can help someone. Maybe I can give someone about to undergo an umbilical cord transplant my perspective on the experience. I can talk about anti-nausea strategies, baldness, how to minimize the pain of a bone marrow biopsy. I can serve up some hope, and I can take away a portion for myself. I continue my rounds.

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald)
brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat
and snicker,
And in short I was afraid.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot


Anonymous said...

Rest assured PJ - you give me hope every day both here and on the LLS Board.

Thank you for your insight
Jennifer aka Clanc

Jim said...

I'm glad you're staying connected, Patricia. Dori has the same benefits-negatives debate. Right now, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

You give hope and laughter to so many. And you're fulfilling your goal of helping people.