I was sorry to learn that Elisa Bond died on March 26, 2014. My condolences to her friends and family.
Elisa was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in February, just nine days after her husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer. As the New York Times reported, “Until February, Nathan and Elisa Bond were about as ordinary a 30-something couple as you could find in Brooklyn. Mr. Bond, 38, was a teacher and an artist; Ms. Bond, 36, worked for a real estate broker; their daughter, Sadie, had turned 1 in the fall. The last thing on their minds was cancer.”
I didn’t know the Bonds, but they touched my heart and many across the nation in April 2011 when they appeared on the “Today” show. ” In a couple of decades of covering everything from hurricanes to terrorist attacks, few stories — and people — have touched me more than the Bond family,” writes the Today Show’s Janet Shamlian. “I had an immediate connection with Elisa. We became friends. She was in Brooklyn and I was in Houston but we traded Christmas cards, emails and long-distance affection.”
In December 2011, the Bonds appeared on the Today Show again, but this time, with some great news. Elisa had an excellent response to Herceptin and chemo–the cancer that had spread from breast to her brain and liver could no longer be seen. She had No Evidence of Disease (NED). Unfortunately, this did not last–her cancer returned in March 2012.
In April 2012, writing on the Family “Bond” ing Time” a blog for friends and well wishers, Elisa was candid as she reflected on the impending one-year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis and that of her husband. “I am a basket case,” she wrote. “My social worker and shrink had warned me that “anniversaries’ are often trying times for cancer patients. I had no idea. With the anniversary, everyone around us is joyful and celebratory saying ‘wow, isn’t it amazing? A year ago, all this started and now you are both well.’ WHAT? And I know what they are referring to…I was caught up in an exuberance. The Today Show. The “No Evidence of Disease” (N.E.D.) status. Nathan’s surgery and a cherry on top. None of it was or is that simple. And it definitely isn’t The Today Show’s fault. They were only following my lead. I was doing cartwheels. This was the news I’d been wanting to hear for almost a year. I/we heard what we wanted to hear. We heard what I/we wanted to hear.”
I think many people with metastatic breast cancer can relate to the roller coaster Elisa described as well as the difficulty of explaining metastatic cancer to other people. I also think others with MBC took inspiration from her outlook, such as when she wrote of her great joy to see Sadie complete her first year of nursery school:
I would say 99% of the time we live most days like there is a tomorrow. We try not to get ahead of ourselves around here. Planning our own calendar in advance is always crap shoot but we go for it just the same. Then life sneaks up on us. We look a few weeks ahead and a day on the calendar pops-up at us which has already been pre-set and not by us. In this case, today’s event had not planned by us, but by the powers that be…the ever-powerful school calendar. Today is that day. TODAY! Today is SPECIAL!