Many young Americans know comedian Alan King's work -- they just don't realize it.
My parents visited a year ago while I recuperated from lung cancer surgery and they developed a division of labor.My father would do odd jobs around the house. My mother would feed me.
This was a good plan in theory, but in reality, it had loopholes. My father's tasks were well-defined: fix a fence, change a light bulb. But my mother struggled. What is it exactly her middle-aged daughter with upper-middle-class tastes liked to eat? The fact is that both of us had long since stopped cooking most of our meals, taking our nourishment from restaurants and take-out. Nevertheless, there persisted in her the belief that when a child is sick, only homemade foods will do. Familiar, nourishing, Jewish foods.
There in my darkened doorway were two men in black mid-length coats with long, curly beards and black hats; a younger and an older man, with eyes burning so clear and bright that they seemed to be reading from an inner script. There was about their smiling countenances such a sense of purpose, that the word "messenger" sprang to mind. They knew and I knew. They had come for me.
I wear a piece of red string around my right wrist, a talisman for healing.
Bad news on the cancer front. My CT scans, which had been 99 percent tumor-free for almost six months, show a few tiny lesions. A few tiny lesions in non-small-cell lung cancer is not a good thing. My oncologist nearly cried.
What I would give not to have to write about this. I hate lung cancer. I hate the tumors. I hate the failed miracle of the clinical trial with its snazzy new anti-cancer drug that had been working so well. It was wonderful taking those two tiny pills day after day. I felt like a bride renewing her vows every morning, wedded to another day of health. I pledged my loyalty to one treatment alone.
There's nothing like completing chemotherapy to spice up a birthday party. Last weekend, 40 of my dearest friends performed a commemorative Havdalah ceremony to mark a really great CT scan and year 53. My "re-birthday" celebration was just the ticket, restorative not only for me but also for the extended community that has seen me through my struggle with lung cancer.
My fireplace mantle is stuffed &'9;with get-well cards. They come from people I know and many I've never met. One of them might have come from you. In the two months since I started writing about my lung cancer, the cards have been flowing in, plus an equal number or more of e-mails. They touch me deeply.