Life, Death, Life

A reader writes:

I was diagnosed with kidney failure before I was 22. I was so young. I can barely conceive of such youth, now. I was not really diagnosed. It was more like being mauled by a bear, or hit by a truck. I was out of my head and unconscious for a few days, but the sickness was easy for doctors to diagnose.

In the beginning, as I realized the gravity of my illness, I did not take it well. I was completely disoriented and confused. Only my mother and father kept me going. Gradually, as I adapted to this new way of life, I struggled to cope.  I saw people give up when there was still hope, and they died. I started to think "don't give up hope, when there is still hope left." Later, I found a quote which I have held as my own, "while I breathe, I hope." I don't know where it came from, perhaps from the Bible? I don't know.

The summer I got sick, I had just graduated from college and I would begin graduate school in the Fall. The nephrologist who was assigned to me was a young man. He told me that I was not to worry, that he would do all my worrying for me. He told me not to cancel my plans for graduate school, that graduate school was the best place for me. I did not take him up on his offer to do all my worrying for me, but I did go to graduate school.

I am thinking about this because of John and Elizabeth Edwards's decision to continue their campaign. It is a good decision.

I agree. When I went through a similar experience, I found this book by Anatole Broyard particularly helpful. Only the Gospels helped me more.