If I could dedicate this blog to someone, it would be my friend Scott.
I was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) fairly recently, but my introduction to leukemia started many years earlier. In university, I was close friends with a man named Scott. Everyone loved Scott. He was funny and bright and talented and out long before it was cool to be out. Scott was self-confident in public but self-doubting in private like the rest of us. We could talk about anything or not talk at all. Scott and I shared a passion for grocery shopping and he taught me how to get that pesky skin off the garlic by smushing it with the broad side of a knife). We ended up in different cities but remained close, talking often on the phone and visiting when we could. We were so alike, we convinced ourselves we had some late ancestor in common because his great grandmother was Jewish. He was as close as I had ever come to a kindred spirit.
Imagine my shock when Scott called in tears one day to tell me of his diagnosis with lymphoblastic lymphoma, which is similar to acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I supported him as best I knew how at the time, calling him daily, listening, and trying to echo his hope even as things looked grim. Looking back on it, I can’t imagine how scared he must have been, and I’m not sure whether I was a good friend at all. But Scott’s treatments were more invasive and risky then than they would be now, and his just didn’t work. Within four months, at only 32 years old, he had died. I still miss him.
Curiously, the last movie he insisted we see together, long before his diagnosis, was Truly Madly Deeply. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth finding. This movie is like a better inear nation of Ghost. After a woman’s husband dies, he comes back to help her move through her grief. He and his dead buddies end up annoying her so much in the process that eventually she is glad to be rid of him. The message is the importance of letting go and moving on after the death of a loved one. I think of that movie, and of Scott, often, especially on days that I’m struggling.
So when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I couldn’t help but think of Scott. Yet another way we were cosmically bonded. Were he still here, I would surely call him on my down days, and I imagine he would know just what to say. You may think I am idealizing him, as people often do following a death, but I adored him this much long before he died. I sure hope I told him that.