Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish...

Long before the Virgin Islands, before sailing, before cancer... there was the school trip to Hawaii. Sanctioned and paid for by NYU. (Bet you'd like to know how we swung that...)

That's me on the right, my friend Cinder on the left (I think). We snorkeled in, I swear, couldn't have been more than two and a half feet of water. I still have the hazy snapshots of tropical fish from the disposable underwater camera.

We were a bit out of our natural habitat. Cinder is a true Manhattanite, and one of the most sophisticated people I know. She grew up in Greenwich Village, literally watching the World Trade Towers rise outside her bedroom window. She can still remember the first time she was out in "the country" at night and witnessed total darkness for the first time. I think she was 12. An art history and archeology expert, she gives a mean tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How she wound up doing digs and raising three kids in Cincinnati is another story, but modern technology and her ability to talk really, really fast let us keep in touch despite busy schedules. When I was in Malta, whining about being homesick, Cinder reminded me to shut up and pay attention to all the amazing things she's studied and never had a chance to see (my words, not hers...) Photos of that amazing trip kept me company through lots of hours of chemo.

Anyway, now this middle aged, Midwestern mom (her words, not mine) is training for a 100 mile bike ride on Long Island to raise money for LLS--the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She has chosen me as one of her "heroes."

This is the second time this spring that I have been the subject of a friend's... let's say "project." My Philly partner-in-crime Ellen --who held my hand through a bone marrow biopsy (and also likes to be mentioned in the blog) -- wrote a speech of praise about me for a class. She got an A.

The term "hero" leaves me a little embarrassed. I suspect it applies more to the other person Cinder is riding for -- a little girl with Leukemia who, at last check, was back in the hospital. It is, however, for a great cause. In addition to providing all kinds of information and support, LLS writes checks directly to cancer patients to help with the exorbitant costs of treatment. I know because I got a couple. Also, Cinder's got the negatives of some incriminating photos from NYU in the 80s... so I was really in no position to say no.

To read more about how my face appears in front of Cinder as a mirage while she's training for her June ride, visit her site:

To read how I found out I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, go to the archive on the left and start with the March 08 story titled "Fish Gotta Swim..." The blog is displaying a little funky on some computers, so if you don't see it, just click around a little and it should appear.


Dan Finegan said...

Thank you, congratulations and best wishes! We met, briefly, a few times several years ago, in Philadelphia. I admired your work in journalism, wondered where your careeer path had taken you, and recently came across your - wonderful, tremendous and spellbinding! - blog. Such an incredible journey! Thank you for sharing, so honestly, your experiences, perspectives and insight. You are a TREMENDOUS writer, and an AMAZING woman!
Congratulations on your return to excellent health, and please know you have inspired me - and I'm sure MANY others - to continue to help and support others. (Among other steps, I will be sure to support your friend, Cinder, in her efforts.) Thank you, and continued happiness in the days and years ahead! Best wishes. Dan Finegan (
P. S. Your family members and many (great) friends are incredible! The love, affection and tremendous support you and they share is very, very touching.

David Haas said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!