Saturday, July 9, 2011


My grandfather is in hospice care because his recently-diagnosed cancer is progressing quickly.

My mom, a 7+ year cancer survivor herself, is now in the unfortunate spot of navigating between two generations of cancer patients. A year ago there was almost no cancer in my family. I can't imagine how hard this is for my mom, but she's an incredibly tough person, so patient and so caring.

My grandpa is brilliant, entertaining and just plain classy. He lived 89 years without suffering from any major health issues, despite enduring a serious explosion on a ship during the Second World War. (He was a medical doctor at the time, even though he was only 21, and the explosion cost him part of his hearing.)

My grandpa grew up in a small town and attended a one-room schoolhouse. He drove to get his learner's permit, which earned him an automatic pass.

Years ago, my grandpa, who was Scottish, brought me to a Scottish festival. It was quirky, and I think he might have been worried that I wasn't having fun. But there's something brilliant about seeing that many bagpipers at once. And my youthful eyes were pretty thrilled at the sight of my first haggis. Ewwwwww.

My grandpa is amazing. My mom's amazing. We've all lived good lives in spite of the the relentless mutations and divisions of our cells. I wish there could be something about that on our pathology charts.