Thursday, August 6, 2009

One Silly Thing, One Serious

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.


Heather said...

I am sorry to read your family is having to face an illness like this. You are all in my prayers, my thoughts, and even my most mundane actions.
Sending grace, faith, and strength your way.


Anonymous said...

Praying for your mum and dad and for you too Frances. It's scary when our parents become seriously makes things feel a bit shaky and strange.

Contact me any time if you need to talk. I hope things turn out positively for all concerned.

Hugs, Tina xx

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks, Heather. I will take all the grace, faith and hope that I can get, and I appreciate you sending me some my way.

And thanks, Tina. I know you've been going through this for awhile now, and I know I'll get strength from you for the journey.

Pom Pom said...

I'm the praying kind, so I will pray for your mom.
About the facebook thing . . . yeah, weird. I do want to honor people who are super enthusiastic about relationships, I do. At school, people are often butts and I think it is because they are fearful (or maybe just mean) so I always want the initiators to feel encouraged. However, I find myself a tiny bit uninterested in people I haven't really kept up on and just because facebook is easy doesn't mean I want to read the narcissistic and mundane updates and chat every time I sign on. I do appreciate the HIDE feature! Some smart person said that at the end of your life, you'll be able to count the true kindred spirits/friends on one hand and have fingers left over. Makes sense. So, all that to say that I'd drive four hours to see one of our kids, my parents, my siblings, but I think that's it.

Gumbo Lily said...

Concerning your Facebook *friend*....I'd be out of town too. For this very reason, I will not do Facebook. I don't want any of those kinds of friends. (I know...horrible of me)

And I am the praying type and just said a prayer for your mom and dad. May the peace of Jesus flow like a river.


Tracy said...

I am praying that your Mum will hear positive things about how to tackle her illness. And I hope that your Dad will be able to draw himself up and be a pillar of strength for her. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. It's hard to watch people we love so much dealing with things like cancer ~ even the 'good' kind.
I'm scared of Facebook. Dh has an account, not because either of us ever look at it. Only because someone asked him to be their 'friend'. Which sounds so juvenile to me! I peeked in there the other day to find that all these people we don't know, who are friends of people we do know what to be his friend. WHAT?! I just deleted everything and got back out of it quick smart.

I'm sure a horror story could be written about Facebook!

Susan said...

Many prayers being sent from my heart for you, your mom, and dad. One thing that sometimes becomes clear in moments like these is that what's important must take priority over what's a nuisance. Four hour drives to see parents are easily done. Four hours to see a person who's barely a friend are easily denied.

Remember in all of this to take of you.

Susan said...

I was reading old posts. We've been out west for two weeks so I've lost touch. I saw a post about knitting lace that was marked "Susan" This was not me, Danielle's friend Ohio Susan. Do you have two Susans following you? I'm feeling confused. And this is why I don't do Facebook.

Angela said...

Love and prayers for you all Frances - especially for your Mum.
hang on to Isaiah 43:1 &2
blessings x x

Left-Handed Housewife said...

First, to all--Thanks for your prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

Pom Pom--re: FB, I always have the "hide" feature activated so no one knows when I'm online! I'm happy to know what old friends are up to, but less happy when emotional energy that should be funneled toward family and close friends ends up channeling its way to Facebook relationships.

Jody, There is a great deal of wisdom in not getting on board with Facebook. You're not horrible for not wanting to get reinvolved with old friends who aren't a part of your life. Who's got the time? Well, apparently a lot of folks, actually ...

Susan, Yes, I was surprised to see another Susan post and to find out it wasn't you. Maybe we're starting a band of Susans here. Remember how there used to be a lot of Susans? What happened? Where did all the Susans go?

Angela, I'm off to read Isaiah now. Thanks for the reference!

Dulce Domum said...

Somehow I know that I just couldn't do Facebook, too complicated.

I'm sorry to hear about your mum. You're all in my prayers, you seem very positive, as does your mum, perhaps this will help to see you through.

God Bless