02 April 2012

Cancer Affecting More Than Just The One With It

Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar wrote the comic called Our Cancer Year as a way to cope with Harvey's diagnosis. The comic opens up with Tod coming to visit his brother Harvey along with his wife Joyce. At that time Harvey asks Tod to help Joyce and him move to their new home since he will be unable to lift due to a surgery he will be having the following day to remove his hernia. Harvey is very anxious for his surgery so he ends up waking two hours before they decided to wake up. Finally Joyce and Tod wake up and drive Harvey to the hospital. Harvey finally goes into surgery with Dr. Cantor. After the surgery Dr. Cantor goes up to Joyce and tells her that instead of a hernia he found a tumor and then immediately walks away without giving her any more information. He then rushes to go see Harvey and let him know that he actually has Lymphoma and he will need to get a CAT scan to see if the cancer spread and then immediately leaves. Later on that night Joyce and Harvey are still shocked with the bad news and want to know more about the cancer. Harvey is more concerned with what will happen to Joyce if he dies instead of himself. That night Joyce learned to cry without moving so Harvey would not know. The following day Harvey goes to make his will so that way Joyce can have everything if he dies. Joyce calls her friend Becky for comfort. Becky comforts Joyce and gives her a number she can call if she had any questions about cancer. Joyce calls the number and immediately tries to learn what a CAT scan is, the other person on the phone and explains to her that it is like an x-ray that will allow the doctor to see if the cancer has spread and where it is. Harvey goes to get his CAT scan and discovers that the cancer has not spread. After hearing that good news Joyce and her husband continue to work on their new house and move out. As they move out Harvey insists on lifting cinder blocks during his recovery because he feels helpless. Joyce insists that he stops which causes a huge fight. Joyce goes outside as Tod deals with Harvey. Joyce's landlord and Slim come over to take a look at the apartment but Joyce explains that it is not a good time to look at the apartment today. The landlord refuses to listen pushing frustrated Joyce to yell at her landlord and insist that it is a bad time, the landlord finally leaves. Tod finally comes out and lets Joyce know that Harvey has calmed down and that they are going to go over to the new house and that Joyce should get some rest. At this time Joyce is talking to her carpenter Stephanie who notifies Joyce that she will be late the following day because she has a mammogram. Stephanie explains to Joyce that she found a lump in her breast and that her family has a history of breast cancer. It never said that Stephanie had a cancer but towards the end Stephanie apologizes for taking so long to finish the house and Joyce comforts her by letting her know it's okay because she knows what she's going through. Then they hug each other due to their despair.

Our Cancer Year was a way for Joyce and Harvey to cope with Harvey's cancer. This refers back to Scott McCloud's chapter on art within Understanding Comics. McCloud explains how art is a form of self expression, and in a sense, Harvey and Joyce created this comic to express how they felt about cancer. People tend to forget how cancer affects many people and that it is important for them to express their feelings through this difficult time. It is also a great way to get the word out about cancer. Maybe, one day this book will help someone else who might be going through a similar experience fee a little better with their situation. Personally, this comic touches me because my cousin died from cancer and it really helped me understand what her husband and kids might of gone through during that difficult time.