I met Ian a long time ago. So long ago, way before Facebook. So we were not picture crazy back then, so I have to use one of his current pictures. We met on an older communication system, a listserve, arranged for patients dealing with or in remission of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He lived across the pond in England, but that was how great the internet was, allowing those of us, struggling with our cancer, to find support and encouragement, no matter where we lived.
Early in the 2000’s, I decided to hold a gathering, a reunion of people who had battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I would hold it at my home, though everyone would stay nearby in a hotel. We had about a dozen or so guests who brought their loved ones and had a great time. I arranged for some guest speakers to talk about post care and such. And then we had some fun, food, and more fun.
Ian’s last name suited him, “Large”, because that is how he lived his life. He was the hit of the gathering. His humor and enjoyment were infectious. Everybody seemed to enjoy their time so much more. Even my dog go into the act.
Ian was also physically bigger than me, standing only at 5’7″. The joke that stayed literally forever, even up to this day, having too much fun, using the ladder to climb out of the pool, Ian had stepped on one of the rungs, and it broke in half. Though I would never see Ian again in person, we kept in touch, and almost symbolically, the ladder never got repaired even to this day as if to have repaired it would have been like a closure of some sort.
Besides the fact that I no longer live in the house now, the ladder will be repaired. The ladder is producing a closure. At the same time, Ian passed away in the last couple of days. Out of respect for his wife and family, I will not discuss the circumstances, but, like me, Ian had his own long term issues from treatments for his Hodgkin’s. When we knew each other back then, neither of us were affected yet.
Over the years, we kept in touch, and through Facebook, we were able stay in touch. Affected by my late effects more than 10 years ago, the way I lived my life had to change. I was no longer able to do certain activities. The hard part was balancing what I could do. The hard part was getting everyone around me to understand, my life was never going to be the same.
I admired Ian, because like I said, he loved to do things “large”. I envied all the things that he was still able to do, before he had to deal with his issues, and perhaps even after learning of them. He is not the only long term survivor able to overcome the limitations we have. But sometimes our decisions to ignore, or “move on” and pretend they never exist, can also lead to our downfalls. Again, Ian was known to do what he wanted, and he had a great time doing it.
Ian was married to a wonderful woman. And if anyone knows how large fun was with Ian, it is her.
My deepest sympathies to all of his friends and family.