Fuck Cancer.

I wasn't in the right mindset to write a "Friday's Five Faves", because it would have been things like morphine drips, stem-cell research, medically-assisted suicides and strangers in England who donate bone marrow. I'm probably still not in the right mindset to write, but I no longer think that matters.


Two years ago on Veteran's Day weekend, my newly-wed husband and I flew to San Diego. My cousin was getting married. Poor new husband understood his new wife's insistence on attending this wedding, simply by being a medical professional. My cousin was going through his second round of leukemia. 

The wedding was gorgeous and I was able to introduce my husband to parts of my family that he had never met.  I will never regret taking that trip.

The last time I had seen my cousin prior to his wedding was for my grandfather's funeral in 2001.  My dad and I had driven for about a day from Georgia to Texas in order to attend it.  It was about the point that my mind was starting to break and I think it was evident then that little crumbles were falling off.  And I remember getting dressed for the funeral and my cousin lamenting that he either couldn't find his glasses or his contacts.  I was precarious mentally, like most teenagers are, I imagine, and he told me that I looked nice.  I replied, "Says the blind man."  He laughed and my heart lifted and I'll never forget having made him laugh.

Two years ago, he had gone to the big center at MD Anderson in Houston.  Fortunately, we have family in Houston.  A match was made between him and a fellow in England and my cousin's life was prolonged.

This Veteran's day weekend, my cousin announced that the leukemia was back.

When I found out that he had cancer for the third time, I sent my aunt a text.  Asking questions, offering anything I could.  She said that he would be going back to MD for a new trial and commented on how pleased she was that he had found God.  This sent up warning flares.

My cousin never made it to MD.  In the span of a week, the cancer replicated from .01 to 70.0.  That's the fucking "acute" part of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I was photographing kittens at the Humane Society on Thursday when my father sent me a text that my cousin would be taken off life support on Friday.  I didn't even know it had escalated to that point.  Cousin held on for a solid day, breathing on his own.  He passed on Saturday, peacefully and pain free.

When he was diagnosed the first time, I signed up with Be the Match.  Registering is super easy.  I signed up online, answered some questions about my health, and they sent me a packet.  You get a little cotton swab and you collect cells from the inside of your cheeks.  Then you send it back.  Occasionally, they send me emails and verify that I'm still interested and that I haven't moved.

So here's the thing.  I know y'all are the caring sort.  I want to exploit that.  For a good cause.  I appreciate the condolences that I know I'll receive.  But I want more.  Robert Green Ingersoll said it best, "Hands that help are far better than lips that pray."  Please consider registering with Be the Match.  Read about it.  See what it involves.  Think about it.  It's free to register if you're between the ages of 18 and 44.  And you might save a life.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with petty stories for which there's little good evidence.  Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief by magnificent opportunity that life provides. - Carl Sagan
On my back and tumbling,
down that hole and back again.

*My apologies for those of y'all who have me in your blog rolls that may be offended at this post's title popping up.  But, seriously.  Fuck cancer.

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10 comments

  1. My family has a history of cancer - several members have died from it. Seriously frustrating and depressing. I'm sorry for your loss and I completely agree with you. F*ck Cancer. I will definitely look into Be a Match.

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  2. I've been a member of Be the Match for several years now, after losing a friend to cancer.

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  3. :( :( There are no words, I'm so sorry.

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  4. I'm going to look into this Be a Match thing. I hadn't heard of it. I'm already registered as an organ donor, but that's about it...

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  5. I have been considering this for some time. My sister is in the registry. My dad passed away from osteosarcoma and practically lived at MD Anderson so I totally agree.

    I have been eyeing these bracelets for sometime and think I'm going to get my sister one for Xmas.

    http://store.fcancerembracelife.com

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  6. I am so sorry to read this, but I 100% agree with your title. My ex-fiance had brain cancer twice, it was malignant the second time, and after the surgery to remove it, he lost his entire memory. Didn't know his family, me, nothing, his whole life gone. Hence the "ex." Destroyed me, but I can't change it. He is very lucky he still has his personality, life skills, etc, and an awesome employer.

    But cancer, oh yes, I fucking hate you, you stole our future and that of so many others.

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  7. I'm so, so sorry Beka. Words are not enough. And yes: fuck cancer!

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  8. So sorry to hear about your cousin. Kudos to you for putting yourself out there to help others.

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  9. I agree with everyone else. I'm sorry your loss, and it's good of you to take this opportunity to do more than just be sad. I'll have to read more about Be the Match. I admit. I had never heard of it before

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