One of my friends has cancer. Again. Last year she fought a valiant battle, went through radiation and surgery and got the all clear. Her friends and family had all rallied around her, and she had won! She moved on with her life, happy to be free from the shadow that had hovered over her life, happy to be able to enjoy being with her three beautiful little girls and her devoted husband. She felt great and got back to running again, preparing for a marathon, just to show cancer it hadn’t gotten to her.
That’s when she started feeling something “wrong” in her lower leg. Shin splints? Stress fracture? Eventually the word tumor surfaced, and shortly, she learned that the cancer was back, and this time, it was in her bones. This cancer that isn’t supposed to spread. That the specialized oncologist has never seen spread outside the original location.
The rounds of doctors and second opinions and treatment choices began again. Radiation is not an option for all the locations because of the previous exposure. She’s cut her hair and shopped for wigs in preparation for the inevitable hair loss from chemotherapy. She’s had a family photo session and shared the beautiful results with us. It’s a “before” photo. I hope of the best sort, a “before I beat cancer for the second time” thing, but I know that part of it was her desire to record their happiness and completeness as a family, just in case.
I am struggling with this not just because of the pain that I see her experiencing and the worry I know plagues her husband and children, but also because it strikes so close to home. She is exactly my age. Her oldest daughter is Gym Girl’s best friend, and she and I were pregnant at the same time with our last children (Soccer Boy for me, twin girls for her). I have that “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling. And that makes me feel incredibly guilty. How selfish is it to be upset because it could be me, when she is dealing with the reality of this disease?
Through it all, though, I am inspired by her positive attitude and her faith in God to see her through all this. She is determined to win the battle again. I’m praying that she does.