The neighbor directly across the road from me, also Italian from a home town in Italy close to where my parents grew up, were always very generous. She often brought me food treats she had made for her family, and little gifts for Isabella each holiday. Her frequent check-ins turned into friendship exchanges rather than health stats.
An older French gentleman lived in a tiny house on our left side. His house reminds me of a cabin in the woods, but it is covered in beige siding. My husband said the house was actually quite large from the inside. A family of six, they had all lived there, even when there were no other houses around. The gentleman was a cancer patient even before we moved to the neighbourhood.
In fact, there were too many cancer cases within close vicinity. A forty-eight year-old neighbor, who had moved to the area behind us just before we did, died of cancer a few years after my recovery. Another woman at the opposite corner of my street, whom I had never met, also died of cancer. Until just recently, I was the only survivor. Hopefully, for a newer neighbor who was diagnosed with cancer, and now in remission following some surgeries, he has joined me in increasing the odds here.
Can these numerous coincidences in a confined area be attributed to an environmental phenomenon, or has cancer become so commonplace? I have questioned this – and so have others – but I had cancer before moving to the area. Cancer doesn’t grow overnight; therefore, it must be pure coincidence. This is such a small area to have so many cancer cases, that one could question the validity of that argument. Maybe only mine was a coincidence.
My husband and I chose this area because it feels like we live in the country, with the amenities of the city only a three-minute drive away. We had purchased the land at a steal. The previous owner had combined three lots into one, so it’s the widest on my street. It’s so peaceful here, with old, beautiful trees twice the height of the homes, and little traffic due to the road ending into a curve. There are still unbuilt areas around us, so summer is filled with greenery, and the winter forest offers snow-covered branches pretty enough to paint, which my daughter would like to do.
I pray that peace fills our hearts and strength carries us forward.