After reading "Again" by Randy Hale, I felt that we have both gone through the same life-changing medical course: she, breast cancer; me, primary lateral sclerosis that for several years had the potential to morph into ALS.
Hale identifies the steely core that arises when battling a potentially life-threatening illness. Battle-hardened, we both now know what it is to shudder when our deepest thoughts bump into our innate mortality, bald-faced and unapologetic. I’m guessing that Ms. Hale, like me, has awakened in the middle of the night with some new pain or feeling that brings another front in the war into the imagination, and coldness into that night. Now, like old soldiers, we both know that we are up to the challenge of life-threatening health conditions. Not a “Bring-It-On” response, but a quiet resolve to enter the fray with head held high, knowing that there is a fair chance we will overcome the adversary.
Kudos to Randy Hale for revealing how soon we can grow skin thick enough to handle the mortal medical challenges that life throws at us, how soon we can learn to forego the angst and tears in favor of a good night’s sleep.
Michael Fredrick Geisser writes in Warren, Rhode Island, in the tiny enclave of Touisset that overlooks the Kickemuit River. He lives there with his wife, Anna, and their wonder Westy, Kosmo. Geisser writes non-fiction, fiction, and personal essays. His work has been published in Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Sliver of Stone, Monkeybicycle, the Journal of Microliterature, Flash Fiction Magazine, the Grub Street Daily, and the book, Befriending Death: Over 100 Essays on Living and Dying.
© 2015 Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine