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I know. I know.


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It goes without saying that cancer is a deadly serious subject that brings profound tragedy into people's lives. But there are those times . . .

My wife died from SCLC on July 28. This devastated my two adult stepdaughters and me. We all knew that Margaret's condition was a desperate one, but we all thought she would live to see one more Christmas with the family. I didn't expect the end to just run up and punch me in the face the way it did.

For the first two weeks it was as though I moved in another world. I slept all right because I popped Valium every night to quiet the deafening silence. But I just stopped eating and drinking. I just didn't think about it. Didn't get hungry or thirsty. I finally returned to work in the middle of the third week largely to get back into a more healthy routine. I always did my eating and drinking largely at work, and I was just damaging myself at home.

Anyway, my co-workers proved incredibly supportive. Much more so than I had ever hoped. This gave me a big boost toward recovery and helped lead me back into the land of the living.

Then last Thursday one of my second-line supervisors comes up to me and says, "Have you lost weight?" "Yes. Yes I have. Twenty pounds in the last month."


This sort of caught me off guard. I had to pause and think for a moment why he couldn't figure out the obvious. Because he had been one of the people who came to offer me his condolences. So I knew he wasn't trying to be heartless or uncaring. So I replied with the obvious. "Because I stopped eating"

"Ohhh. That's no way to lose weight."

"I'm not trying to."

"You know, you've got to eat. Otherwise, you might do some damage."

"I know. I know."

"Well, you just eat something. Don't try to lose weight by not eating. It's no good for you. No good"

Having imparted this nugget of insight he turned on his heels and walked away. I stood there with my mouth slightly agape, wondering what the hell that was all about. The whole episode was rather surreal, but in a funny sort of way.

Still, it was at that point I knew that I had returned to the land of the living.

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