Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the popular musical Wicked, but it is one of my all-time favorites.

Shortly after our move to CA I was fortunate to hop in the car with friends and family (a total of 50 of us saw it!) and head to the famous Pantages Theatre for the event. Once there my senses, as they had the two times I saw it before, were flooded and my emotions overwhelmed by the voices, powered by heart-hitting lyrics.

One the way home I rode with my Mom, and two of our mutual friends. The car was abuzz with the post-theatre conversation, each of us trying to maintain small talk while also thinking back to moments from the evening, and of course reliving the drug-like highs and lows the music led us to.

At some point my Mom and her friend S starting talking about whether the musical had cheered S for her upcoming surgery. I was lost in my own world (imagining myself on stage probably) and wasn't paying too much attention. Then I heard it...

Cancer. Breast cancer.

The music in my head stopped, and so did my heart. I felt myself staring at S intently as if trying to read her own thoughts - or staring as if the cancer was going to jump out and say boo to me. I was, am, shocked, scared, freaked out, sad...

You see, this is my very first encounter with cancer - of any form. I haven't known anyone else that has been diagnosed, I know no survivors, and I have lost no one to it. I have heard the statistics every year of my life: 1 out of 8 women will get it. 1 out of 33 will loose their life to it. 40,000+ women will die in 2007 from it. I've walked in the Susan G. Komen walk. I've donated my time and my money - to a cause that I felt was valid but foreign.

But I have never sat in the same car as someone with it. I have never watched someone's eyes as they try to explain how they feel, the fear they have, what they worry about. S is about the strongest person that I know. And humorous, in a blunt way. In fact, when I was younger she pulled me and a friend aside and told us that if we straightened our posture our boobs would look bigger. I reminded her of the story, and then feeling like an idiot for mentioning bigger boobs to someone about to lose one, muttered apologies.

S had her surgery last week. This week she met with her oncologist to talk about her chemo/radiation regime. My Mom spoke with her the morning of the surgery - and relayed this story. Like anyone, S had a hard time sleeping. Not knowing how she would feel, what they would find, kept her up most of the night.

And what kept running through her head...the song 'Loathing' from Wicked. It gave her a strange sense of peace and put a smile on her face to sing it to her cancer.

With simple utter loathing,
There's a strange exhilaration,
In such total detestation,
It's so pure and strong.

I wish I knew the right thing to say to S during this time. I am glad that she, like most in her position, just want to hear something, even if it's not the right thing.

I do know this. She is tougher than this. And as much as she might loathe it now, she will not be loathing it her whole life long. Those around her, just like those watching a musical, will find themselves lost in her brilliance, dancing to her music, and wanting the bravery she gained on her stage.

1 comment:

Terina said...

ok, now i'm wondering who S is.