Sunday, April 09, 2006

Books and Cancer

I recently learned that a friend of mine has cancer.
She reads a lot.
She is out of breath a lot.
She is trying to eat raw as part of her treatment.
She's a really great lady.
And this is awful timing.
I felt myself getting upset at God on her behalf. She has had enough hard and bad in her life--why this?, and why now?
Not because I thought I'd find an answer to this, but I started reading Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzynitzen (sp?). The book tells the story of a number of characters struggling with this disease in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. The author is a cancer survivor, and much of this may be somewhat autobiographical.

I am moved by the isolation that these patients have to endure, and the lack of power that people have over disease, or over death itself. It is fairly foreign to me as I have been well for so much of my life. I keep reading to see what sense these characters make of their disease. I am not sure how this might help me and my friend.


Maria Kenney said...


That's one of my favortie books, with so many people dealing with their illness in so many different ways. I'm not sure how it will help you either, but at least you're not shying away from the issue.

billy said...


As always, your concern for the people in your life and your deep compassion for them moves me. I painfully concur with your thoughts about your friends cancer. This disease has had a devestating impact on my life having claimed the lives of both of my parents at a relatively young age. I have dreamt many times of one day seeing this disease "thrown" into the lake of fire-a harsh, maybe ridiculous thought-but one that is hard not to have. But I also know that there is life after the losses and that there are many wonderful, even miraculous, stories that result from this plague. Solzhenitsyn is a great author, and I would also recommend that you look into a guy named Reynolds Price. He is a tremendous writer who survived cancer (and hideous chronic pain) and has written pretty extensively about both issues. I have a couple of his books that you are welcome to borrow.