Chapter 115 proved one of the most compelling in the story, if email response volume is to be a metric. I had upwards of 80 emails on this chapter, all positive, though some cursed me for awakening emotions they had thought buried. That was the first day. I woke up the next morning to another 60! I think I ended up somewhere between 150 and 160. What a phenomenal number! For most of you I simply sent back a thank you, but I read all your responses. Many of you referred to loved ones who had passed away from cancer. For what it's worth, in the ugly disease rating system, I would prefer cancer to the way my father went out with Alzheimer's. I'd rather lose my body than my mind. Just my opinion.
Many asked if I had a child or loved one die of cancer. No, fortunately not. My mother- and father-in-law passed away for hepatic cancer and melanoma, respectively, but they were in their 70s. I have certainly known people who have survived cancer. I must admit that my daughter likes medical shows and I constantly am seeing this stuff on television. I lost a couple of nieces at an early age (I have about 40 nephews & nieces & great-nephews & -nieces, maybe more) but one was in a car accident when she was about 10 and the other was born with a fatal heart defect and never made it past 3 weeks. From that I can honestly state that no parent should ever have to bury a child; Nature calls on the child to bury the parent. Burying my father was difficult, but I cannot conceive of the pain of burying one of my children.
I mentioned it was going to be a tearjerker. Don't think it wasn't for me, too. By the time I finished writing the eulogy, I was crying, too.
Bearing all this in mind, I was asked to mention the World's Greatest Shave
by the Leukemia Foundation, a fundraiser for leukemia research and treatment. Sorry, but I'm keeping my beard and mustache, it's all I have left!
My eagle-eyed readers found a name typo, and an error in the name of the Director of the NIH. Both have been fixed. Thanks.
In Chapter 116 we get back to a mishmash of personal stuff and politics. As always, the important part is not whether you agree with Carl's politics, but watching him maneuver. For those of you who think it doesn't get this convoluted or hypocritical, I am not showing a tenth of what really occurs.