Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Bit of Good News

“You know I’m living on borrowed time.”

My blog partner ( Benjamin ), my ex-colleague ( Mic, who has an inoperable malignant brain tumor) and I have been eating out monthly for some time. After Mic’s diagnosis, his tumor was a topic of conversation
( “You know, it’s on the underside of my brain, away from the skull; thus inoperable.” ), an ever-present reality as we tried to be normal ( The backdrop of our time together is different … we spend our time acutely aware of how precious both time itself and our time together are.), the subject of a raw gallows humor Mic brings to the reality ( “Well, Mic, how are you?” “You know, I’m fxxxed.” ), and the reason for Mic’s bringing a cane to our most recent dinner.

At first, we’d have dinner as though nothing were wrong or even
different … except for that backdrop. A family member would drop Mic off. One small change to our routine was taking him home. We realized it made sense to pick him up as well. Another small change to our routine.

Early on, the food Mic carried back to the table seemed only to be precariously placed on his unstable tray. Ultimately he could not carry the tray and either Benjamin or I did so. The tumor made itself felt.

Last summer, after dinner, the three of us enjoyed both the man-made lake bordering the restaurant and the adjacent miniature golf course. This year we played golf once, and though Mic enjoyed it as much as ever, he had to cajole his weakened left side to participate. As we dropped him off he said that his condition, as he’d given it to us that evening, was BS; “I’m inexorably moving to the end.” The tumor screamed its presence.

In July, as we were paying our entry, I asked Mic how he was feeling. He looked me straight in the eye: “You know I’m living on borrowed time.”

This struck like a stick in the stomach; “Wh…?”

He must’ve seen the look on my face or heard the unintelligible, “Seven months ago they said three to six months; get your life in order. I am beyond that time.”

And, he looked healthier than he’d looked in some time. He walked better; his trailing foot didn’t kick each step walking up stairs. Hope and optimism obscured the tumor.

Albeit with the aid of a cane, at our August dinner Mic walked still better than he had been. He continued to need help with his food tray, but when he and I went together for dessert he didn’t want any help. He beat me back to the table, but without his dessert. It was several tables away. We skipped walking the lake as gathering storm clouds confirmed the heavy rain prediction. Hope and optimism continued to hold sway over the tumor.

We had thought the August dinner was two days after his fourth MRI. Incorrectly. It was actually a week later.

Text from Mic, the following week ( my emphasis ): “MRI test is very encouraging; tumor has decreased size for about 1.5-cm in each dimension. Makes me happy.”

Mic is far from cured, but this is incredibly exciting news, and I am very happy for him, his family, and our dining trio.
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