1928: Seven Years

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Seven Years
[hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"
Title text: [hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: May require explaining the activities shown, as in the explanation for 1141: Two Years.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Randall's wife was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010, a matter he has discussed in the comic multiple times before. Here, motivated by the seven-year period between the American solar eclipses of 2017 and 2024, we see them reminiscing the seven years prior to the first eclipse, leaving an open question to what the next seven years will bring.

The title text is most likely a continuation to panel 15 concerning hair regrowth, in which she references the horror movie The Ring. "The little girl from The Ring" refers to Sadako Yamamura, the antagonist of the Ring series by Koji Suzuki, and popularized in a 2002 movie. Specifically, watching the video tape in The Ring is supposed to kill a person in seven days, but the title text instead says "seven years".

This comic is a continuation of 1141: Two Years, which is shown as the first eight panels, slightly grayed out.

Some explanations:

  • Panels 1–8: See 1141: Two Years
  • Panel 9: Randall and Randall's wife (with her hair noticably longer) are walking through a forest.
  • Panel 10: Randall's wife is sitting down, not in the forest anymore. She is concerned because she has pain in her toe and worries that this is an early sign of her cancer spreading again. Randall points out the simpler explanation- that she stubbed her toe the previous day, and the pain is likely a result of that. This panel shows the paranoia that comes from cancer remission, as earlier explained in 931: Lanes.
  • Panel 11: Randall and his wife are going spelunking. The guide is gesturing deeper into the cave while Randall and his wife are climbing down.
  • Panel 12: Randall's wife stands on a rock above an alligator in a swamp, photographing the alligator. Randall is on a balcony behind safety railings.
  • Panel 13: Randall's wife sits on an examination bed, listening to a doctor holding a clipboard.
  • Panel 14: Randall and his wife stand above a deep pond full of fish and other objects. Randall's wife is piloting a wired underwater camera with lights. Randall shared pictures of his underwater ROV before.
  • Panel 15: Randall and his wife are standing next to each other. Randall's wife has shoulder-length hair covering most of her face.
  • Panel 16: A line of six people, including Randall and his wife, stand and watch the solar eclipse.
  • Panel 17: The sky has been brightened.
  • Panel 18: Randall and his wife are walking together and holding hands.
  • Panel 19: Still walking, Randall and his wife think together about a timeline. Seven years have passed since 2010, represented with a solid line from the past to 2017; seven years in the future will be 2024, represented with a dotted line into the future and surrounded by three question marks.
  • Panel 20: The pair keeps walking, being optimistic.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[The first eight panels, used earlier in the comic 1141: Two Years, are in gray color.]
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit on a bed, Randall's fiancée is talking on the phone. The person she is talking to, a doctor holding a clipboard, is shown inset.]
Randall's fiancée: Oh god.
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit together while Randall's fiancée, now bald, is receiving chemotherapy. They are both on their laptops.]
IV pump: ... Beeep ... Beeep ... Beeep ...
[Randall and Randall's fiancée (who is wearing a knit cap) are paddling a kayak against a scenic mountain backdrop.]
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit at a table, staring at a cell phone. There is a clock on the wall. Her head is stubbly.]
Randall's fiancée: How long can it take to read a scan!?
[Randall and Randall's fiancée are back at the hospital again, Randall's fiancée receiving chemo. They are playing Scrabble.]
Randall: "Zarg" isn't a word.
Randall's fiancée: But caaaancer.
Randall: ...Ok, fine.
[Randall and Randall's fiancée (wearing a knit cap) are listening to a Cueball-like friend. A large thought bubble is above their heads and it obscures the friends talk. The text below, split in three is the only part there can be no doubt about:]
Friend: So next year you should come visit us up in the mounta
a
and
Randall and Randall's fiancée (thinking): "Next year"
[Randall and Randall's fiancée are getting married, with a heart above their heads. Randall's wife's hair is growing back.]
[Randall and Randall's wife (wearing a knit cap) stand on a beach, watching a whale jump out of water. This is the last gray panel, with an additional label in normal black color.]
Fwoosh
Label: Two years
[Randall and Randall's wife (with her hair noticably longer) are walking through a forest.]
[Randall's wife is sitting down, not in the forest anymore.]
Randall's wife: My toe hurts and I found a report of a case in which toe pain was an early sign of cancer spreading.
Randall: Wait—didn’t you stub your toe yesterday?
Randall's wife: Yes, but what if this is unrelated?
[Randall and his wife are going spelunking. The guide is gesturing deeper into the cave while Randall and his wife are climbing down.]
[Randall's wife stands on a rock above an alligator in a swamp, photographing the alligator. Randall is on a balcony behind safety railings.]
Randall: When they estimated your survival odds, I think they made some optimistic assumptions about your hobbies.
[Randall's wife sits on an examination bed, listening to a doctor holding a clipboard.]
Doctor: This is probably nothing.
Doctor: But given your history, we should do a full scan.
Doctor: We'll call with the results in a few days. Try not to worry about it until then!
[Randall and his wife stand above a deep pond full of fish and other objects. Randall's wife is piloting a wired underwater camera with lights.]
[Randall and his wife are standing next to each other. Randall's wife has shoulder-length hair covering most of her face.]
Randall's wife: Hard to believe—six years ago, I was bald. But today, after a long struggle, I finally look like the little girl from The Ring.
Randall: That's, uhh... good?
Randall's wife: Hissssss
[A line of six people, including Randall and his wife, stand and watch the solar eclipse.]
[The sky has been brightened.]
Figure with blonde hair: Wow.
Randall's wife: Yeah.
[Randall and his wife are walking together and holding hands.]
Randall's wife: That was incredible.
Randall's wife: When's the next one?
Randall: In seven years.
Randall: Wanna go see it?
[Still walking, Randall and his wife think together about a timeline. Seven years have passed since 2010, represented with a solid line from the past to 2017; seven years in the future will be 2024, represented with a dotted line into the future and surrounded by three question marks.]
[The pair keeps walking.]
Randall's wife: Yeah.
Randall's wife: I'll do my best.
Randall: It's a date!


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Discussion

no... I'm not crying... Zazathebot (talk)

Liar 172.68.34.34 20:13, 13 December 2017 (UTC)


(162.158.58.105 23:04, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Do we know her name? Dogman15 (talk) 00:34, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Should we remove the transcript incomplete mark? I know it's early, but I don't think it can be any better. 162.158.166.233 02:25, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Is someone cutting onions here? I am almost close to tears soon.Boeing-787lover 08:10, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Why is my face leaking??? --Nialpxe, 2017. (Arguments welcome)

Yay life!

I love the phrasing "Panel 17: The sky has been brightened." I'm just commenting to preserve it from edits. 198.41.230.52 13:22, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

I feel it important to point out to anyone who may be looking at here and thinking about dealing with cancer... Chemotherapy and Radiology, Don't do it!. These were the best that science had about 20 years ago, but we've come much further since then. Immuno-oncology is less intensive, cheaper, and much more effective. Most of the developed world has quit using radiology and chemotherapy (which works by the very imprecise method of 'kill everything, good and bad, and hopefully kill more of the bad than the good'. Immuno-oncology works by creating specialized and personalized medicines that train your white blood cells to seek out and destroy the particular cancer cells, leaving all your good cells in tact and leaving you an immunity to that particular cancer. This knowledge won't be that much use to most of the developed world, but if you live in the U.S., it could save your life. (A few certain large companies who will go unnamed have been lobbying to prevent entry of new cancer solutions as they see chemo and radiotherapy as a cash cow and don't want their income stifled.) --Joshupetersen (talk) 18:33, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

As someone who works in medical research, I find the previous comment damaging. It is very close to a conspiracy theory. The names chemotherapy and radiation haven't changed, but the methods have. The side-effects are still decreasing dramatically, as they should. It is true that immunotherapie is the new kid on the block and shows a lot of promise, but it is currently very limited in what types of cancer it can treat, and it costs twice the national debt to treat someone. I don't know too much about the situation in the US, but generally I would say the fear for litigation ensures the use of modern implementation of old techniques. Ever think of ultrasound? It is ancient, but it is still a valuable tool. (Also, remember CEO's of Big Pharma also deal with cancer in their families, and they also get chemo and radiation.)172.68.142.113 08:01, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
To be fair, if you're taking cancer treatment advice from the comments of explainxkcd, you probably don't deserve better than Joshupetersen's conspiracy theories.

I don't want to take away anything from this very moving comic, but he does realize there's an eclipse or two every year, somewhere on the planet? Does the fear of cancer somehow limit them from ever leaving the US?

Do you realize that most people can't afford to travel to the other end of the world just to watch a particular eclipse for 5-7 minutes? 141.101.77.68 09:47, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

God that's beatiful. 162.158.91.17 20:39, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

First off this is fantastic. As someone in the same situation, at the same part of the timeline, this rings so honest and true. The tree scene ... brilliant. Walking among beings for who a human lifespan is insignificant. Second. a hearty, contemptuous, giant F you to Joshupetersen. I can't stand conspiratorial know it alls like you. You think people in this situation don't know every single treatment that is out there? Every single immunotherapy drug in Cuba, every single clinical trial being run out of some backwater lab in China? There is no big pharma conspiracy. There is however a conspiracy called "evolution," which after several million years of practice ensures that cancer is one of the wiliest, most resilient killers out there. 172.68.47.30 22:26, 14 December 2017 (UTC)Kaeleku

The way you speak about evolution suggest cancer is some kind of infectious organism which evolved to kill effectively. It isn't and it isn't infectious at all. Even the kind of cancers caused by infections are not DIRECT result of infections. Cancer is basically failure of normal cell functionality, abnormal growth of your own cells which your self-repair mechanisms failed to prevent, and evolution is the reason why it's rare to have cancer before the age when it's natural to have children.
I *think* that Devil facial tumour disease may be a counterexample.162.158.63.196 14:13, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
Nevertheless, there is no reason for conspiracy: large companies are just slower to adapt to changes. Radiology and chemotherapy are tested, immuno-oncology is new, not well tested and may not work on all kinds of cancer. And regarding how aggressive those old methods are, think about dentistry, which instead of curing anything limits itself to effectively amputation and replacement by artificial prosthesis. -- Hkmaly (talk) 02:52, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
The wrongest thing to do in this regard is to think of "cancer" as one disease. Yes, the suffering aspect of various forms can be similar and it is sometimes useful to lump them together when making broad policy decisions. But just about every organ and cell type presents a unique challenge, which is best dealt with differently. Some cancers are extremely chemo- and radiosensitive, others are rather resistant. The same is true for novel and experimental treatment methods. Do your own research by all means, but if your oncologist strongly recommends one treatment option, consider that they are weighing previous outcomes of available treatment methods before making the suggestion. --Nialpxe, 2017. (Arguments welcome)

I feel it important to point out to anyone who may be looking at here and thinking about dealing with cancer... talk with your trusted health care professional who knows your case, and is not only well aware of but well practiced in modern medicine. 162.158.74.9 23:58, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

...solar eclipses visible from North America... Americans!162.158.165.16 04:10, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

According to 881: Probability, she had about 79% chance of surviving this far. 162.158.238.191 09:59, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

In 931: Lanes his friends asks if they are "out of the woods". Maybe that's what panel 9 is all about? They are still in danger and therefor "into the woods"?