Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Off the Canvas - Again

Since 2007, my friend Dale has battled cancer. He went into remission, but last November, the hospital reported his cancer had returned Stage IV ("cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body") and did he have a will. Dale considered simply staying home and waiting for the Reaper. However, for the sake of family, he agreed to a final, desperate, double-chemo, go-round. With more determination than hope, Dale shaved his head in advance of baldness and prepared his mind and spirit to fight. 

Last Sunday, he announced his disease had retreated sufficiently, and that doctors had given him the Okay, to return to work part-time. He was laughing and in good spirits as only someone who has evaded cancer's pitiless grip can be. I think he's also glad he battled in the face of dire odds and didn't cede life because of chemo loathing. I've seen the difference his recovery has made to his family, faces once heavy with loss, now bright with relief.

What will happen long term, I cannot say. There is an operation ahead, and more chemo, but a corner seems to have been turned and Dale has been rewarded with a gift of days. How he handles this gift will be a challenge. Life absorbs us. Having faced death, it's not something we want to dwell on. Soon it seems you've never had bigger problems than bills and stuff to fix around the house. But for now, there's joy in Dale's household, and going out for sushi, and watching Ultimate Fighting Championships with his teenage son on TNT.  

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