Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Those Other People

You may have noticed that my blog has been neglected for a long time.  Work, life, family, Facebook...all took their toll.  Our lives in China just didn't seem very exotic or interesting enough to write about, and Facebook provided a forum for pictures and a few sentences that were easier, albeit less thoughtful.

Our decision to move to Saudi Arabia made me want to get back to my blog.  Even if no one else reads me, it's a travelogue (of sorts) of our lives.  The change--and oh, how I hate change--and a glimpse of a country and a culture rarely seen and often misunderstood might be more interesting than my daily lesson plans and my irritations at the driving habits of the locals here.

Then, last Friday, we joined a brand new club.  I call it the "Other People" club.  Chances are good you're not in this club.  You know, "those people" who--and then fill in the blank.  Things that always happen for better or worse to "those people."  A few days before he went into surgery to remove his appendix, Mark said, "Are you worried?"  And I said, "No.  Bad things don't happen to us.  They happen to 'other people.'"  I am an inveterate worrier, one who worries about things that I really do understand will probably work out OK in the end.  So, no--worrying about severe medical crises would not catch my attention.  I would be saving that for disasterous airplane crashes or terrorists (also on the plane)...serious things.

Now we belong to the "Other People" chapter called "cancer."  It's been 4 days since Mark was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and I'm already understanding that I don't have a temporary membership.  Whatever will happen, cancer has come to stay.  It will lurk around the corner and raise its nasty head every time there is a health issue.  Fever?  Maybe it's cancer.  Pain?  Maybe it's cancer.  Routine medical checkup?  Maybe they'll find cancer. 

And so we wait.  Wait for the day for more tests.  Then wait to see what those tests might show.  Then wait for treatment to start. Then wait for treatment to end.  Then wait to see if it worked.  Then wait to see if it comes back.  And hold the thought at bay in the back of your mind that someone might say the worst possible news of all.

Suddenly moving my family to Saudi Arabia seems much easier and much safer than the journey that we are beginning.  Because I guarantee, no matter what you have ever thought about living overseas with children, whatever dangers or ills or troubles you wouldn't be willing to put up with or can't imagine why we would...it's nothing to this new place where we've found ourselves.

The blog about living life overseas will now necessarily include chapters on living life with cancer.   I pray that it will be a short chapter, but I can't know that.  No one can know.  It is what it is, and we will be what we will be...blessed, challenged, frightened, and hopeful. 


Karen said...


And man you come back with a whopper of a punch. Thank you for being brave enough to share this new club with all of us. Well, with me, anyway, since perhaps all your other readers will never notice you're back and this can be an intimate little group of two - Me & You.

Almost American said...

Wow - glad you're back, but sad for you that joining this particular club is what's prompted your return.

AnnMinnesota said...

I am sorry to hear the news about Mark. Our thoughts are with him and I hope all is going well. I am not on facebook (technology holdout I guess) so I hope you can update this blog post to let us know how things are going. Take Care, Ann Leiter and family

Evelyn Cheng said...

I'm sorry to hear about Mark. I am a reporter for Beijing's Global Times and was wondering if you felt the pollution in Beijing in any way caused health issues. If so, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could email me at echeng709@gmail.com as I am working on a related story.