2004-10-25 - 8:32 p.m.
the "curable disease"
This morning's shock was a phone call from one of my best students who just learned that she has cancer. She called to ask permission to postpone her exam tomorrow. She is 26 years old and is battling cancer for a second time, and she is worried about an in-class exam.
I didn't reach her directly, but I called and emailed, and eased her worries about the exams. We would certainly work something out so that she will finish this course, it's clear her first priority should be her health!
The word 'cancer' immediately invokes panic, even though supposedly it is now considered a "curable disease." A curable disease that seems to attack more and more people whose lives intersect with mine. This same "curable disease" took the life of my college friend a year and a half ago (she was only 35 years old).
I hope that she has family and friends to care for her. I've seen that people react very differently to disease. My college friend fought to the very last and brought us all in to fight with her. For my colleague, this is a very personal battle that we do not even mention in the department. This student called me in tears, although I am a relative stranger.
When I became a teacher I embraced the ethic that I would help all of my students to succeed. But I did not anticipate how vested I would become in their lives.
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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29