Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cancer Sucks

Last night I received a text from a friend that said "will u pls call me when u can".  While it's tough to read inflection in a text, I sensed something was wrong for some reason. Unfortunately my instincts were right.  She had just found out one of her girlfriends was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She thought that because I have experience with this type of thing I might be able to guide her as to how she and others could help this family. 

I still can't believe that I have "experience" with this kind of thing. 

While I don't know this woman well, I know her well enough to know that she is not the poster child for cancer.  From the outside she's a strong, thin, active, healthy-looking, beautiful, 30-something-year-old woman. 30-something. She's a runner who takes good care of herself and her family. She has a strong faith in God, puts Him and family before anything else. And until that fateful day when she decided she had been feeling under the weather just a little too long, there was no indication that the inside of her was any less idyllic than the outside. 

That picture was wrong though, because somehow - in the midst of all that perfection - cancer had grown inside her liver, escaped through the bile ducts and rapidly torn through her entire body.

Last Friday, while I was enjoying the last night of our spring break at the beach playing poker for seashells with my kids, she was having a conversation with hers about her impending death. Earlier this week she asked a friend to take her to get her hair cut because she thought it would be less dramatic as it started falling out from the chemo.  The chemo they've told her most likely won't work.  After the haircut they went to the stationary store.  She wanted paper because she needed to start writing letters to people - to her family - to her children - to read after she's gone. What do you write in a letter like that? How do you put a whole lifetime in to words on one page?

I hate cancer. I really do.  I don't care which organ it clings itself to - liver, breast, colon, whatever - I hate it all.

My freshman writing class taught me that the end of this story should end with a resolution to the climax. Sorry Mrs. D, I'm afraid I have to break the rules this time because right now I've got nothing.  

Is there a way to resolve cancer? 

I hope so. I really hope so. 

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