The ABC Cancer Diaries

A young, American-Born-Chinese woman living with metastatic breast cancer

Flower Girl October 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 3:33 pm

Wynne’s good friend Young recently got married over Labor Day.  Helen was supposed to be the flower girl.  But unfortunately we weren’t able to attend because I was having back issues.

However, Young sent us the dress and accoutrements (including a little flower girl doll and a beautiful music box that has Helen’s name handpainted on it).  And she asked if we could take some photos of Helen in the dress for them.

This past Sunday, we went to Nai-Nai and Yieh-Yieh’s house (i.e., Chinese for Nana and Papa), and my father took some photos of Helen in the dress.  I know Wynne would be beaming with pride and joy to see these.  Here are a few:



With the cherry blossom my parents planted in honor of Wynne



Two Chinese Characters video dedicated to Wynne October 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 2:04 pm

Thank you Two Chinese Characters for dedicating your latest video (“Taiwan is not Thailand“) to Wynne.  I know she would have enjoyed it greatly, both the message and the humor.  🙂


From their YouTube page:  “Dedicated to the memory of Wynne Wen-ren WU 吳問仁 (1975-2010), a traditional Chinese character & radical teacher.”

FYI, Jonathan Weinstein, one of the “Two Chinese Characters,” originally hired Wynne at BHSEC.  And several years ago, he also came and stayed with us over a weekend so that he and Wynne could collaborate on a karaoke video about Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig.


Tending the garden June 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 10:19 pm

Wynne use to enjoy gardening.  Actually, I had no idea she was into gardening, and then one year she announced she was going to grow tomatoes and basil and some other things.  And she did, right on our balcony.

The tomatoes I referred to as the “Hundred dollar tomatoes” because, when we went on a trip to Munich in the middle of the summer, she asked my brother Greg to water the plants for the week we were gone, which turned out to be a hot, sunny week.  However, after arriving in Munich, Greg got in touch and pointed out that we had inadvertently locked the lock on our door for which he did not have the key.  The only option was to somehow express mail the right key to him ASAP which, after explaining the situation to the German post office and learning the price ($100), Wynne insisted that we do (which I grudgingly agreed to).  Hence the $100 tomatoes.

That brings us to the recent present.  I know little if anything about gardening, though I’ve thought it would be nice to grow something out on our balcony if only because Wynne used to.  A month or so ago a neighbor who sometimes babysits for Helen mentioned that he likes to start tomato plants in his apartment but has no outdoor space so he gives them away.  He asked if I’d like a tomato plant.  Also some hops, which apparently grows up and around the rail if you let it.  I said sure, and one day he and his wife brought them over, fully potted and everything (along with some good Munich beer, coincidentally).

Since then, I’ve been watering the tomato and hops plants every day, and now it’s turned into a routine with Helen.  Every morning after I get her up, we go out and water the plants together.  She starts yelling, “A-ga!  A-ga!” (aka “agua,” the Portuguese word for water).  She hands me the water can.  I fill it up, and she helps me pour the water.  She also likes to put her hand and arm under the stream when I pour from high up.  It’s evolved into a nice daily routine where we get to honor and remember and connect with Wynne.

There aren’t any trips planned for Munich this summer, so hopefully the tomato plant will flourish and grow and we’ll be able to eat them together (though Helen isn’t so into tomatoes and other raw veggies at the moment, but we’ll sneak it into her somehow).

“There’s only two things that money can’t buy.  And that’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”

-Guy Clark

One more shot of Helen with her recent super-ponytail:


Spring and restless thoughts May 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 2:47 pm

A Japanese friend mentioned she was thinking about Wynne in connection with the one-year anniversary of Wynne’s death and  shared this lovely poem with about spring and cherry blossoms.

Hisakata no

Hikari nodokeki

Haru no hi ni

Shizu gokoro naku

Hana no chiruran

(English translation)

In the peaceful light

Of the ever-shining sun

In the days of spring,

Why do the cherry’s new-blown blooms

Scatter like restless thoughts?

By the famous 9th century poet named Ki no Tomonori.


Mother’s Day 2011 May 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — wenren @ 1:02 am

Here’s how we spent Mother’s Day 2011:

"Happy Mommy's Day, Mommy!"


"We played some frisbee...."


"Ate some Luigi's pizza on the Pratt Campus....."


"Made some new friends...."


"Played with NaiNai and YiehYieh and cousin Ethan and Uncle Greggie and Aunt Aimee...."


“And at dinner, NaiNai taught me how to say ‘I love you’ for the first time.”

It was a beautiful day in many, many ways.

We love you Wynne, and still miss you very much.


She’s from the Lower East….

Filed under: Uncategorized — wenren @ 12:42 am

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Helene Hoenig, Wynne’s childhood best friend on the Lower East Side.  Wynne often mentioned Helene (2nd syllable rhymes with “clean”) when reminiscing about her elementary school days.  She liked to tell me how Helene was the smartest girl in school.  And both of her parents were teachers.  And, as it turns out, Helene was apparently Wynne’s link to Jewish American culture. 🙂

Helene and Wynne re-connected a few years ago via Facebook.  And Helene, who now lives in Oakland, CA, and I have been in touch over the past year through Facebook.  So when she mentioned she was planning a visit back to NYC in the next year, I told her I wanted to meet up with her and just walk around the Lower East Side together for an informal tour.

This past Thursday we finally met up and it worked out really nicely.  We got to know each other, and I got to see the Lower East Side through Helene’s eyes which felt like Wynne’s eyes as well.  Helen also got to meet Helen (rhymes with melon) whom she’s already become familiar with via Facebook.

Here are some photos from our meetup:

Helen and I with Helen and her father Leo in Seward Park, one of the parks where Wynne and Helene used to play.  Incidentally, I first met Leo last year the week after Wynne died.  Not knowing me at all, he came by the apartment to pay his respects, which meant so much to me once I realized who he was and how he was connected to Wynne.  He shared many stories and recollections which I appreciated greatly at the time and still hold on to.


Dogan’s candy store on Grand St., where Wynne and Helene used to buy their candy.  It goes by another name now, but the sign out front still says Dogan’s, and according to Helene everyone in the neighborhood still refers to it as Dogan’s.


Helene, Luciana and Helen in front of P.S. 110 (I think that’s the right number) where Wynne and Helene were all smarty-smart together in elementary school before their lives diverged when they went off to different junior high and high schools.  The school is practically below the Williamsburg Bridge, and nearly as far east as you can go before hitting FDR Drive.  It’s also a half block away from what remains of Sheriff Street where my mom’s father lived when he was born.  (Update:  Thanks to Lee, who says his great grandparents also lived in Sheriff Street for sharing more info about Sheriff Street here and here.)


Sitting on a Grand St. stoop:  “When your mommy was a little girl….”


Memorial Walk Thanks April 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 1:44 pm

Update 05/02/11Here’s a link to few photos taken by Carl.

Thanks to everyone who came to the memorial walk this past Saturday in Prospect Park as well as to everyone who thought about Wynne.  About 30 people were able to join despite the rain.  And after a rainy start, it let up as we began the walk and the weather warmed as well.  We essentially had the park to ourselves and our only obstacles were a couple of large puddles (lakes?) that had formed over sections of the path.

I realized the gathering was also a bit of a reunion of sorts.  Last year many people from different parts of our lives came together in support of Wynne in a variety of ways.  And so Saturday was a chance for some of those people to reconnect with each other and remember Wynne together.

Following the walk a number of people joined us at Soda Bar to continue catching up, sharing stories and celebrating the day in honor of Wynne.

Meanwhile, I’ve set up this link to a Mobile Me gallery I created to share any photos from the day.  Have a look.  (FYI, they tend to be fairly Helen-focused thus far.)

You can upload photos and videos directly to the site as well as by e-mailing them to wuwitz-sv3s [at]  I realize due to the rain that not so many photos were taken.  But we’ll take whatever you got.

Thanks again and lots of love,

Steven & Helen

ps  Here are some photos of Wynne from Junior High School 56 days, recently shared by Alicia via Helen (both childhood friends of Wynne):