I've written before about the perils of Facebooking, namely how people you would prefer to stay firmly in your past can pop up to invade your psyche. But one of the fun things about Facebook is the opportunity to find out what happened to folks you once knew, many of whom you haven't given one thought to since your last goodbye. It's neat to catch up, and Facebook gives you a way to do that without having to make any major commitments of time or emotion.
Or so I thought.
Here's the situation: Soon after I signed up for Facebook, I was friended by an old friend named Sandy. Not a close old friend, just someone I'd been friendly with in high school. Our lives seemed to run parallel--we were both "good" girls, made good grades, were the same kind of cute, and had a habit of dating the same boys. But for whatever reasons (probably the boy thing), we never were close. In fact, I don't recall ever hanging out with her outside of school.
But I was happy to hear from her on Facebook, interested to know what had happened to her. She's married, has kids, and lives in Saudia Arabia, of all places. She mentioned that she was going to be in North Carolina this summer, looking at boarding schools for one of her children up in the mountains. Maybe we could get together, she suggested.
Sure, maybe, who knows, I wrote her. Where you're going to be is a far way away from where I live, but if I happen to be out that way, etc., et al. Which is to say, I tried to say in the nicest possible way: No. I don't actually know this woman, you see. We went to high school together for one year. It was a good year, senior year, lots of memories. Good times. Good times that are now twenty-seven years old and getting a little yellow around the edges.
So anyway. Yesterday I get an e-mail: Sandy's in North Carolina, up in the mountains and feeling a little stir crazy. She's thinking about driving the four hours down here for a visit. Am I in town?
How to reply? Yes, I'm in town, but I am emotionally unavailable at this time? Yes, I'm in town, but not feeling the least bit nostalgic? Yes, I'm in town, but you see, we aren't really friends and the idea of you driving four hours to come visit someone you aren't friends with, have had no contact with for twenty-seven years but for a handful of Facebook exchanges in the last three months, strikes me as, well, nuts.
Right now, I'm opting not to reply. And hoping she doesn't call. And thinking about heading out of town.
The serious thing. My mom has just been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphoctic Leukemia (CLL). It is a slow-progessing cancer most often found in people over fifty (my mom is seventy-three). Like a lot of people with CLL, she was diagnosed in the process of being treated for some minor medical problems. Her urologist noted that her white blood cell count was high and told her she should have further tests. She went to her internist, who says she's probably had CLL for a couple of years. On Tuesday, she'll have bone marrow extracted in order to find out more clearly the nature and progress of her illness.
I've been doing a lot of online research the last two days and most of what I've read is cheering. While CLL is incurable, it is treatable. My mom's doctor told her he thought her CLL was at stage zero. Although CLL patients get tired of hearing it, a lot of folks refer to CLL as "the good kind of cancer to get, if you have to get cancer." The life expectancy rates of CLL patients continue to increase as therapies get more sophisticated.
We'll find out in a couple of weeks how aggressive my mom's CLL is. What my mom didn't tell me, but my dad did, is that her white blood cell counts have almost doubled in six weeks. I don't know what that means, but it doesn't sound great.
So, if you're the praying type, I'd appreciate your prayers for my mom (her name is Jane), specifically that her form of CLL is not aggressive, and also that she not be afraid. She has a deep and abiding faith, many friends, a strong church community, and a supportive spouse. Still, when I asked her the other day how she was feeling, she said, "Overall, I feel positive, but every once in a while I get these pangs of fear."
If you could pray for my dad (Del), too, that would be great. He's prone to depression, and we're all worried about his state of mind. He's very down, which is natural, but it's too early for him to decide that the game is over and all is lost. That's far from the case, but my dad has a hard time staying positive.
If you're not the praying type, send positive energy out into the universe and wish upon the stars. That's good, too.