Friday, December 22, 2006


My roommate Chris just told me that he has received an email from Tom, the boyfriend of our third roommate, Sarah. Tom heard from Sarah's mother (not from Sarah herself) that the exploratory surgery went smoothly and that she's not going to be coming back on time, after all. She'll be staying with her parents for further procedures. What does that mean? Chris asked Tom. Tom hesitated and said, I think it means she has breast cancer.

Sarah is 33. She never smokes and she drinks a beer or two a week (if that). She is a dancer and goes to five or six classes a week--she's in excellent physical shape and she's very trim. She has long beautiful black hair down to below her butt and I wonder if she has to have chemo and whether it will all fall out.

Chris has been friends with Sarah forever and I have only known her for about 8 months but we've gotten along fabulously (at least from my perspective!) and I really like her a lot. I don't know what to say to Chris so I sit quietly at my computer and type away.

Hey, he calls from the other room. Do you know anyone who's had breast cancer that could, you know, maybe act as a mentor? Someone she could talk to?

I frown for a moment at the computer screen. No, I say after a moment. I'm sorry. I wish I did.

I call my mother and tell her about this. She knows that it's not that I've never known anyone who had breast cancer.

I hope that Sarah comes home soon. I hope this is one of those experiences that is a big scare and turns out to be a cautionary tale for us all and then as a result saves a bunch of lives. Or something like that. I hope she has a nice Christmas.

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