Wednesday, March 28, 2007

and then I got the e-mail...

This semester I met an unusual student.... I'll call her "C".

C came to me at the beginning of class, to let me know that she was being treated for throat cancer and may be missing class on occasion. She had a doctor's note, and she didn't look like she was feeling well.

A few weeks later C came to me again. She had a note, it seems that during a procedure they slipped or something and now she was unable to speak. She was concerned about her group presentation, as the doctor said she wouldn't be permitted to speak until just before the assigned presentation date. She was also concerned about her class participation grade.

A couple of weeks later, I got an e-mail from C's daughter. It seems her mom was in the hospital waiting to be released. C was worried about missing classes and offered her father's cell phone number if I needed a verification.

Before Spring Break, C was in class for a couple of weeks in a row and seemed to be doing ok. She was coping with not being able to speak. She turned in her exam and got it back with a good grade she earned. I was happy to see that she'd been keeping up on the reading assignments and was able to complete the take-home exam even when she hadn't been feeling well.

and.. then I got today's e-mail.

C's daughter e-mailed me. It seems that C's cancer is terminal. C's daughter was concerned about her mother being able to finish the class. I gave her the option of an alternate assignment for course credit, or a withdrawl from the course. I don't suppose it is really fair that the other students have to do the exams and a presentation to finish the class-- but, I also don't suppose it is f-ing fair that a good student, smart mom and very nice person has terminal cancer. Life isn't fair. I can say that I'd do the same for any student of mine with terminal cancer -- if she wants to write a paper to finish the course during the end of her life, the least I can do is to give her the last college credit she'll earn.

I can't imagine it -- being worried about completing a philosophy course when you've been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I really, really, really don't want to have to go to this woman's funeral.

What I really, really, really DO want is to be able to have her in future classes and to invite her to my drunken-brawl (yea, right) when I finish my dissertation.

What I really, really, really want for her is for her to see her daughter graduate from high school -- and to finish her own college degree.

When mom told me once that life isn't fair, she was right -- but I want it to be a little less un-fair in C's case.

If you pray, please do so for her --


~profgrrrrl~ said...

She'll be in my prayers. How horrible! I hope she can finish her own degree and see her daughter graduate, and that those events will make her life feel more complete.

I know the sinking feeling all too well. Every time I get an update on my friend with lymphoma (in whose honor I'm running the marathon) I find myself yet again unable to understand how and why these things happen. I'm hoping he's able to finish his PhD and to see his work performed (he's a composer) once again.

Seeking Solace said...

How awful! I will be saying an estra prayer for her.

timna said...

I'm so sorry. Yes, I wondered once about a high school student who put so much effort into school when clearly dying. Her parents said that the school work was what kept her going. That was one painful funeral.
Hope your student makes it to your party and some of her own celebrations.

comebacknikki said...

Oh, that's so horrible. :(

Bardiac said...

Oh, wow... You're doing good things there, but so painfully difficult all around. /comfort

Chaser said...

Oh my...I've got prayers for her. I am so sorry, Inside.

Andrea said...

Wow, that is terrible. You definitely did the right thing - she clearly wants to go out still living her life with dignity and completing college work, and you are helping her do that. Who cares if other students have a different situation. This is what exceptions are for.