Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cancer Chronicles: The Facebook Effect

Facebook is pretty easy to sum up. Users acquire more friends than they can possibly pay attention to, most of which are blasts from the past they re-connect with for a quick message exchange only to forget about them again a day later, all the while “updating” people on the mostly mundane and uninteresting occurrences in their lives.

And I love it!

It has been fun re-connecting with old friends and I have found FB to be instrumental in organizing and keeping track of my cycling friends. But, I have found something else about FB. It has reminded me that everyone has a story. See, although most status updates are really vague or passive aggressive in an attempt to garner lots of comments to make the user feel justified in their thoughts, occasionally someone will surprise you with something really significant.

Michelle Whitlock, or as I knew her back then, Michi Christy, was a friend of mine in high school. I spent many a weekend night hanging out with her and my other friend Gigi doing whatever it was the teenaged girls should do…and probably a bunch of stuff teenaged girls should not do. We were invincible. We were headbangers. Our hair dos stood so high they were in restricted airspace, especially our bangs. Not unlike most of my friends in high school, though, we lost touch after graduation and went on about our lives and would never have heard from each other again if it hadn’t been for Facebook.

Over the course of several months, Michi’s status updates began touching a nerve in me and I couldn’t quite figure out why at first. As more weeks went by, I began to piece together her story and had a vague feeling that Cancer had really affected her life in some way; although I wasn’t aware to what extent.

Cancer interests me. It interests me because I hate it so much. I ride my bike a lot of miles in the name of Cancer research and I will do it again this year in the 24 Hours of Booty.

Michi has told her story many times through many different venues. But, I think it deserves to be told here as well. Because when I heard Michi’s story, I put my head in my hands a let a very angry toned “Fuck!” slip out of my mouth. Why was I angry? Because I realized that through all my talking and ranting about Cancer, I had not taken nearly enough time to consider that I am, in fact, not invincible. I had stupidly neglected that fact and it made me feel…well, stupid. So, I want to tell you her story in the coming days and weeks.

Believe me, it’s more significant than any status update you’re going to read. Ever.

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