She has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer with no known cure. With treatment, she can have another 15-20 years. But the disease is going to sap her physical energy greatly.
She wrote, “I hate to feel ‘bad’. It is not me! There will be more tests, surgeries, and monthly injections of a chemical. I think I’m losing interest in life………no more adventures, no more cooking, no more lively conversations with strangers.
“9-11 certainly caught everyone's attention where I live, it continues to stay ‘front and center’ in everyone's mind. I have traveled by air since 9-11, and have felt secure - or was it just my fatalistic view. When it's my time, it's my time....”
I recounted the number of people I know who have cancer or had died from the illness: a friend with brain tumor and breast cancer; a neighbor with nose cancer; another neighbor died of skin cancer a few years ago; and several women acquaintances with breast or ovarian cancer.
In some cases, the cancer was discovered at the most unfortunate times: divorce, financial setbacks, and death of a family member. The initial shock reverberated through the patients’ personal networks.
As a nutrition student in a Canadian university, I did practical training in counseling depressed cancer patients who refused to eat.
The word ‘cancer’ didn’t affect me emotionally for I was looking at the illness purely from a medical viewpoint. I didn’t know the patients personally. All I had to do was counseling and writing reports on how their eating habits were changed by counseling.
Her words were alive on the computer screen.
“Then.....the annual POSSUM AUCTION! Eight of these little long-nosed, long-tailed, scraggly-furred critters were held up by their tails, one at a time, and each was auctioned off separately. Each of them cost more than the quilt!
"His reply was that they were exactly the same. I asked him what I could do with those in my yard - hoping that he would offer to buy the ones I caught in my backyard…so I could make a bundle.
People came with large chairs, tables, carved wooden pieces from ships, giant ivory veneered incense urns, oil paintings, and everything else in size right down to the fine jewelry.
If an item were of significant value or interest, one was asked to sign a legal form of one kind and quickly ushered to the "green room" where the owners got pancake makeup applied to faces.
Then, an appraiser and the owner were ushered out into middle of the crowded floor once again, where an area was brightly lit and surrounded by TV cameras. There, the owner would be interviewed by the appraiser and told the value of the item, for the first time.”
“We had a jolly good time trying to get into the ‘show’ with our Asian stuff. Lovely!!” An animated face speaking excitedly came alive in my mind.
She saw the joy of life in everything she encountered. She wrote stories about what she saw with her pen in her trembling hand. She also did oil paintings of people she met and told fabulous stories about them.
Why was I complaining? I decided to move on.
By Chong Sheau Ching