Sunday, May 18, 2008
Iíve just sat down after seeing my friend Jordan for the first time since he was diagnosed with leukemia almost a month ago.
Heís walking with a cane, his hair is short and falling out, his face is a little swollen, and there are chemotherapy ports hanging from his arm.
Jordan is one of the best people that I know. Heís a senior, a mostly A-student, he played for the baseball team, he goes to auto repair ROP, he got accepted to the Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento. Heís got over 200 hours of community service, not for any kind of credit, but because he loves to help out in his community. Heís respectful, charming, generous, caring, and has the noble spirit that you only find in the princes of fairy tales.
His senior year has been rough, not only because of the changes happening around the school. In addition to all the general senior worries (like graduating, legal adulthood, after school jobs, friends), heís been coping with the failing health of a beloved family member.
Out of the blue, he found out he had leukemia. Immediately he was scheduled into a chemotherapy routine. Now his life consists of going to chemo, then lying in bed recovering, and being sick for hours, then more bed rest. He needs a bone marrow transplant, but recently discovered that neither one of his parents, nor his older brother, are donor matches. Heís been added to the list of patients in need, and doctors are searching the donor pool for a suitable match. Soon, the chemo ports in his arm will be removed and replaced by a port in his chest.
The chance of him beating his cancer, with a successful marrow transplant, is 70%. He says that if his body rejects the transplant, however, thatís the end of him. A successful bone marrow transplant would mean weekly blood tests to scan for the cancerís return, and a chemotherapy routine for the next five years. But he would be healthy again.
Jordan is a strong person, ambitious and resolute. I believe he will beat this, and one day tell us all about it. When I saw him today, at lunch just talking with a group of friends, smiling but obviously struggling inside, I didnít know what to say. I gave him a hug and asked him how he was feeling.
What do you say to a friend fighting cancer? Iím sorry, but even more sorry that my being sorry doesnít make it any better. It doesnít help to pity him, and I donít. I respect him.
Jordanís a great human being. His life changed for the worst, and the hardships just kept piling on, but he didnít just give up. He doesnít plan on it, either; heís not going to let cancer get the better of him. Jordan will be one of the strongest minds to graduate with the class of 2008. I believe heíll grow up to be an honorable man.