Universe Speaking?

I’m sitting in the 2nd floor waiting area at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland while my son Adam is having a chemotherapy port inserted in his chest. It’s unimaginable that this is happening—my beautiful boy diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma a week ago—and yet the step-by-step, procedure-by-procedure regimen leading up to treatment feels weirdly routine and obviously necessary. I’m where I need to be now, and grateful that I can be at his side, now, when he needs the support.

The universe has a mysterious way of speaking. I attach no spiritual significance to it, but is it just coincidence that I’m living here in Oakland, now, close to Adam and all the facilities for his treatment?

Had my wife not dissolved our marriage I would still be living with her in San Francisco. I only moved out on September 1st, a few days before learning from Adam about his condition. Had my good friends Robin and Ken not offered me their house in Oakland god only knows where I’d be living today. Had I not, after twelve years of not driving, decided to get a California license back in June, I would not be driving Adam to appointments. Coincidences? Whatever they are, I’m fortunate to be where I am right now.

Despite the resulting convenience for me, I do not absolve my wife from her decision to end our marriage. She has lost her right to be concerned about me, or my family, however genuine. She gave that away when she gave me away. It still hurts.

Sam came from Boston this past week to cheer up Adam, and me, with his congenitally happy personality and positive spirit. It made an otherwise sad situation joyful and light and filled with cheerful energy—a world of difference.


The peculiar aspect to this is that as the next six months progress, all the chemo, treatments, and new scans will become routine. I hear this from the too many friends I have either undergoing cancer treatment or have done so in the past. Too many. What once was something that happened to other people is now suddenly, from nowhere, happening to my son. And he will deal with it as he must, and we will, too. His intention is to persevere with his 4th year medical school program, with the full support of his faculty and administrators. Everyone is with him.

Soon Adam’s mother will visit, and his older brother David, and perhaps his good friends from high school. His life will be full on all fronts, filled with people who love him.

Best of all he has his lovely wife Rachel, wife as of last Thursday when they moved the date of their marriage up from May 9th, 2020, to right now, immediately following Adam’s biopsy.  Already a physician, Rachel knows what Adam is facing. They face a happy future together.

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  1. Ranie

     /  September 13, 2019

    Makes my cry to read this…sorry Niland…big hugs Ranie

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hugs gratefully accepted! Thank you. Adam is in good spirits.


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