I finished AC #4 today, hitting the halfway point for the chemo part of this long journey. Yes, it is long. When I am finished with reconstruction sometime next year, it will be more than two years. But I am lucky because my body has not failed me. I have remained strong enough to be able to travel this road, despite my initial concerns about chemo and its ability to cause some pretty serious side effects. Yes, sometimes I feel like my body has become a toxic waste dump because for every side effect, there is a pill!
But at least I have the opportunity to put up a fight, to give it my all, and hopefully kick cancer's a$$. I have a friend, someone I met through a diabetic blog that I have participated in for several years. I've met this friend in person, twice, when I was in Florida. The first time was a business trip that I extended for a weekend, and she drove to me and we had a great lunch. The second time was this past February when we had a family trip to Disney World. She and another lady from our blog met me in Orlando for lunch. Each time we had lively conversations, as if we'd known each other for years. And in a way, we had. Diabetes may have brought us together in the first place, but sharing everyday life, family, special moments...those are things that have made us a close-knit group who really, really care about one another.
When my friend found out that she had a very aggressive cancer that had spread to her liver, she reached out to me. She wanted my help to advise her on treatment options, to support her. I was so honored to be among those that she was trusting, essentially, with her life. It was a big responsibility, one that I took to heart.
But the body is unpredictable and cancer can wreak unthinkable devastation before you even know it's there. My friend's kidneys shut down this past weekend, and her body can take no more. She can no longer fight this demon, the damage is too great and there is now nothing but comfort and support for her and sadness for her family and friends. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother - a very proud one who took great pleasure in her family, especially the family cruises that she organized. I remember her being thrilled that she had found matching t-shirts for the entire family, and she shared a picture of the whole family sporting their shirts on this year's family cruise.
She and her family are very strong in their faith and I am sure that trust in their God will help them as she goes through this transition. It won't be easy, but they all have beautiful memories that will help ease the pain.
I am so lucky - I still get to fight the battle, win the war and make more memories.