Facebook, I started using it when it first became available as a way of keeping in touch with the kids my wife and I taught in Sunday School. Over the years it has been a fantastic aid for keeping in touch with friends scattered over the globe and in rekindling old relationships. Most recently it has been a way for me to become more in touch with others also suffering from esophageal cancer (EC). When I post on this blog a link to it is created on my Facebook wall. Over the past two years I’ve had a few people reach out to me. Some write to me for themselves but most often I hear from a spouse.
In two cases I’ve had wives write to me. They wanted to know about the immunotherapy treatment I was on and how they could get their husbands on it. It’s difficult if not impossible to find the right words to reply with. Mostly because the clinical trial I was on had already closed and moved on to it’s second stage. I could give out names and suggestions but little else. Writing wasn’t enough when I could read the desperation in their messages to me. These ladies needed someone to talk to and I was willing to lend an ear. I wanted to do so much more but I had nothing else to give them. In the few conversations I had over the phone with both of them I learned all about their husbands. I learned who these men were, what they did and how they got ill, but more so I learned how much their wives loved them. We talked about treatments, oncologists and where the best hospitals were local to them. We also talked about hope and how little is offered when talking about EC.
I am a statistical miracle. I’m sure in my cancer story the hope these women were looking for seemed so close at hand. Rob passed away at the beginning of this month. and I just saw this morning on Facebook that Mike passed away yesterday. I never had an opportunity to meet either of these men, never talked to them, never exchanged emails. But the love I heard from both of their wives made me want to know them. Each of their deaths tore at the fabric of my soul.
So why am I sharing this? For no other reason than my need to scream and shake my fist in the air at my feelings of helplessness. CANCER SUCKS! And while being a Christian helps me understand and come to grips with the fallen nature of the world.. it does little too ease the pain. Even Christ cried upon hearing of the death of his friend.
Until I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer I’d never heard of it and knew nothing about it. Because of the lack of public awareness this is a form of cancer that can go undiagnosed or worse misdiagnosed until it’s too late. Thankfully there are groups who are trying to get the word out. Please help me in supporting groups like the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association. I’m not asking for financial support. All I’m asking is you educate yourself so you can help educate others.