Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Six Weeks Since I Posted

Nine weeks ago, my friend Alan went to the doctor for the second time with symptoms of numbness in the left side of his body and a dropped foot.  The doctor, who had previously said he wasn’t worried, now sent him to the hospital for an MRI.  Alan has been there ever since.

The images showed a mass in his brain, and a few days later biopsy confirmed it to be a malignant tumor.  The biopsy also caused bleeding in the brain, resulting in paralysis of his left side and a variety of other effects, some of them rather strange.  For his three weeks in the ICU, I didn’t know if I would ever have a real conversation with him again, and I knew I couldn’t go see him.  He lives far away.  This is one of the frightful things about being sick I hadn’t experienced yet: not being able to be with somebody you love who’s sick.

In place of traveling I sent him audio recordings of myself almost every day.  Then he was released from the ICU and took up the phone again—a kind of resurrection experience for me.  We’ve talked most days in the six weeks since.  These two months have been a complicated, hard, draining, beautiful.  

I feel content with what has been possible for me, honored to have been intimately involved, and a little trepidatious about what I can manage longer-term. Alan will be released from the hospital this week after having had six weeks of radiation, chemotherapy, and acute rehab.  The rehab continues; otherwise, none of us really knows quite what is next.  I’m hoping now to resume posting regularly here.

Here’s a poem by Alan, from I about a year and a half ago:

   That days like fall leaves
   fall, yet do not accumulate--

   arithmetic fail--
   nor yield decrease--

   their number at all
   can only then

   be one and one
   and one and one.

For more of his poetry you can go to http://magnoliapresscollective.com/Emily.html.


  1. Good to hear from you and so sorry that your friend is so ill. Praying for you both.


  2. priscilla....i missed you (and your little stick-girl!)...and felt sad at your silence - though i didnt know the reason. so sorry to hear of the illness of "friend alan" (we will send prayers to you both). please continue to "rest your heart" (its gotten quite a workout, i'm sure)...and continue to speak to your friend (and your followers)in the universal language of Art. (alans poem is lovely! "1 and 1 and 1 and 1..." exactly!) regards, jackie

  3. I'm so sorry for your sad times. I'm glad you are there for Alan. You and Alan will be in my thoughts and prayers, and I wish you the best of news in the weeks to come.

  4. It's amazing how expressive you can make those stick figures. And that stick figure speaks the truth. I hope the news is good from here on out ... or that you at least get a break from news.

  5. Here's some (not so new) good news: we're so glad to see you back cartooning again, and (far more important) love you and are thinking about you.

    patrick and sarah s.

  6. Thinking of you and your friend, Priscilla. Hoping there's good news soon.


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