Life Goes On

Like most folks I was saddened by the news about Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer recurrance and also, like most folks, I reacted by thinking “Why is he still running?”. Then I thought about it some more. Do we really expect John Edwards to go home, sit in the house and cry? Does that help anyone? What should he do? What would most people do and why? Luckily, I think, most people keep on going because that’s the right and best thing for everyone.

I still remember a little too vividly when Dave’s doctor called to tell us the biopsy results showed lymphoma. It was 8 or 9 at night which was bad timing since it meant no sleep for either of us. It also meant we had to get up the next day and face our kids and go on to work. It was incredibly difficult but staying home and crying just wasn’t an option nor was it such a great idea. There is comfort in the every day routine and the distraction of our usual life. The truth is most people don’t have the option to stop everything after a bad medical diagnosis nor should they.

After the initial diagnosis we heard some of the same quotes from doctors that the Edwards are hearing – “treatable, not curable”. That’s a tough one to swallow but these days most times cancer doesn’t mean your life has ended. It may mean your life has changed but thankfully, it goes on – hopefully for a good long while. Dave just got an “all clear” report from his doctor again this week but the doctor is already discussing what we will choose to do when it returns.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but we’re all going to die of something sometime. Some people already know what it will probably be. How does that change things for them? My experience as a doctor tells me that most people are much stronger than they expect to be when they face these things. I see more peoples’ lives crumble from the day to day battles with depression or chronic pain, things that don’t get society’s attention or community support, but cancer seems to bring out the best in people sometimes.

We, like the Edwards I’m sure, hope desperately for new treatments and the good luck to fall on the positive side of the statistics, but I like to think that life for us isn’t about waiting but about living. Last week Dave flew kites with Meg at her school, cooked green eggs and ham at Eden’s, planted innumerable flowers in our yard, played soccer (quite aggressively I’m sure) with 20 somethings and went on a 16 mile bike ride with me. He also laughed a lot (especially at me when I fell off the bike, but I’ll save that one for another time. Don’t worry Mom I’m not hurt.). To paraphrase Elizabeth Edwards – I expect he’ll do tomorrow what he did today – and I hope I can keep up.

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2 Responses to “Life Goes On”

  1. perr1ker5h Says:

    Neva–I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog! I found it from your comments on my blog–you need to spread the word and let the bookclub gals know you’re writing this. Your writing inspires me to enjoy every day and drag my lazy ass to the gym as much as possible. Thanks for sharing all you have to share about Dave, Meg, your family and your training. You truly are an inspiration.

    Now when are we going to have that long overdue playdate?

  2. mollie Says:

    neva – hello!
    regina forwarded this to me. GOOD FOR YOU!
    i will keep checking in to see how you are doing, and i will also contribute, as it is a terribly important cause! in the meantime — take good care and hugs to dave, eden and meg! julia beam and claire look forward to visiting soon!!!

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