Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tragedy. Sadness. Hope.

There are so many sad stories in the world. If you look for them, you'll find plenty. More than you can handle. You find plenty enough without looking for them.

Every now and then a sad story reaches you and is so heartbreaking that it just makes you angry. There are big, sad stories like the many in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami there. And there is the sad local story of Mandi Schwartz losing her battle with cancer at such a young age. Too young. No wonder some of us who have survived cancer experience varying levels of "survivor guilt". It would have been awful to have lost my life to cancer but for someone as young and strong and vital as Mandi ... it's tragic. There she was living her dream ... playing hockey at Yale ... and wham! Cancer! Two years later she's gone despite fighting like hell. Here's the story from TSN and a tribute written by friend and teammate, Carolyn Murphy.

If this has already brought to mind more heartbreak than you can endure right now, don't read any further. This next heartbreaking story came to me yesterday and if you've ever thought you've had bad luck, I doubt you've had this kind of bad luck. It's difficult to even contemplate!

It's about Nathan and Elisa Bond of Brooklyn, New York. They have an 18 month old daughter.  In February of this year, Nathan at age 38 was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer. Nine days later, his wife Elisa at age 36 was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastic breast cancer. In case you don't know about cancer staging, there is no Stage 5. Stage 4 is as bad as it gets. Mine was Stage 2.
“I’m sure many of you have been waiting to hear how it went with Nathan’s first day of chemo, however, I must deliver some more bad news before we get to that.  On Wednesday, February 23rd, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Yes, me too.  Cancer.  That’s right, read it again.  Nathan AND Elisa have cancer.  TOGETHER.  LIKE NOW.” – Elisa Bond 
"What am I fighting? It's a ghost. I'm fighting a ghost. It's lurking in my body but I can't grab it by it's throat and punch it and kick it and yell it and punch it some more. It's a part of me. It's embedded itself in me. I have to trust that the drugs and the poison they're going to put in me knows how to fight a ghost." - Elisa Bond 
"Perhaps if I just get on a plane to South America I won't have cancer. If I can just get out of this place, I can leave it behind. It's all a big mistake. Each step of the way, they have been talking about someone else. It's not me. This is NOT my story. Fuck the plane, I need to run.  Get out of my way.  MOVE.  I gotta run.  I just have to run away. But I can't. Sadie. Nathan. Nathan and Sadie. This can't be. This can't be their story either." - Elisa Bond
Such an awful story but I have to tell you, too, that despite the unbelievable horror of what they're going through, Nathan and Elisa demonstrate an incredible amount of grace and wit along with their candor. The Bond family already had a blog before their tragic diagnoses but it has now taken a dramatic change in focus, of course. I think there is much to be learned by reading their account of their experience. And Elisa is a very good writer.

And if you are so moved to offer more than your prayers and hopes and wishes to the Bonds ... one of the many sad stories out there, but an especially poignant one, I think ... you can do so here.

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