Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ping Pong and other important things

This is a rhapsodic note from a very old friend that I hadn't seen or spoken to for a long time. I remember thinking after reading this, how strongly connected to him I still felt. His message gave me a great deal of encouragement.


I have a two car garage that has been so packed full of crap for five years you could barely walk in there. I finally cleaned it out this summer(it three weekends), and set up a ping pong table in there. Which reminded me endlessly of your and Mar's house in Santa Monica and all the ping pong we played in the garage. those were good times, simpler times.Zack was born, Liza and I coupled up in that stretch of time. Good things both.

When Marla wrote me a week ago about your diagnosis, I wrote there are a few people I know who could handle this beter than you . Whenever I saw you faced with adversity --from someone you to fire at Chicago Pizza Works , to when Zack had a cold as a baby and Marla couldn't handle that suction thing for his nose , to when you couldn't find matching wood for the floor at my house in Santa Monica, big or small, signicant or mundane , my picture of you in those moments is always with a smile on your face. I think you understood way before I did that this is the stuff that makes us who we are.

The requisite cancer success story. My sister Cathy was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor on halloween '07. Before they could remove the tumor, they discovered lung cancer as well, and gave her six to twelve months. She said to me, "they don't know everything". The lung tumor was too big for surgery they said. She had brain surgery, had no brain damage, a clean tumor removal and was up and laughing two hours after surgery. "That wasn't bad", she said to me.All the doctors were amazed by her recovery. Radiation on the brain, and two rounds of chemo for the lungs followed. She had an unbelieveably upbeat attitude and outlook through everything. It was that attitude, and recovery that convinced the doctors to change their minds, and go in and surgically remove the lung tumor. A day before the lung surgery they discovered colon cancer. A week after the lung surgery, they removed eighteen inches of her colon. Then another round of chemo. 9months after the process began, the doctors told her she was cancer free. A year after the first diagnosis, she returned to work, and is now dating her nuerosurgeon. Before the first she said to me, you know it's been awhile... what if he wants to...I said Cath, he had his hands in your brain, it doesn't get more intimate than that, let him do whatever he wants. She has a 60% chance of it returning,but most of us walk around with odds that aren't much better than that.

In the middle of all that, I had a good friend from New York send me a Sloan Kettering study. Sloan is the big cancer hospital in NYC, and the top oncologists there had been quoting what percentage of ccancer survival was due to attitude to their patients---but just making it up. Some said 15%, some said 20%, some said 25%. A new chief came in said, hey, we're Sloan Kettering, we can't just be making this stuff up. So they did a 7 year study on the role the patients attitude plays in cancer survival. Turns out they were all lying. It's 35%.

You have always had that positive attitude, which is just who you are naturally, and I know that will serve you, and those around you, well. It's my experience in life that in the end, the good guys always win. It's also my experience that you are a nuice guy.

Much love


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