Friday, December 14, 2012

A Friendship Ended Too Soon

At 8:30 am this morning I got a phone call from my friend's niece. She called to tell me that my friend had passed. It has taken me all day to be able to write yet another post about a woman and friend from my support group who lost her life to cancer.

Pam was a special lady. She was good friend. We met at the very first meeting of the Gynecologic Cancer Support Group at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ)  back in 2007. We hit it off right away.  We were diagnosed less than a year apart with stage III ovarian cancer.

She loved to travel and so did I. In 2009, we both went on cruises to Alaska. When she came back she gave me tips on what to bring. It seems that going on a trip after treatment cycles was our pattern.

She loved Jimmy Buffet and would travel all over to go to a concert. She was a member of the Parrot Heads. Pam and the group put together a fundraiser ( I think it was 2008) and the money went to CINJ.She held another fundraiser at Leggett's and that is when I got to meet so many more of her family.
Parrot Head fundraiser- Pam, me, Julie, Ann

We got together at the  Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course in New York City at NYU. This time our husbands came along and they got to meet each other. Nick and Ed would attend many ovarian cancer events with us especially if they knew the other was going.

We both attended the CINJ Foundation dinner to honor our gynecologic oncologist, Dr Darlene Gibbon.
CINJ Foundation Dinner with Rita Kay(left) and Pam(right)

When I attended conferences Pam would always ask me what treatments were in the works for us. Then we would both lament how long it took to get the treatment from clinical trials to patients. Both Pam and I took part in clinical trials. If only more women like Pam took part in clinical trials researchers would get the answers to the many questions they have about cancer.

Pam was always ready to help the women in our group especially with computer issues.She was our resident techie. She helped a few woman learn software and fixed internet and software issues.

We also served on the Patient Advisory Board of CINJ together. Once again Pam was ready to help in any way she could. Pam was a real driving force behind the LiveSTRONG Survivor's Day quilt that now hangs in the lobby of CINJ. She showed up at one of our meetings with a bag of quilt squares and fabric and the ball got rolling.

Pam and I attended many of the same ovarian cancer awareness events over the last few years-  the Kaleidoscope of Hope Avon Walk and the Teal Tea Foundation's Tea every May.
Teal Tea 2011
During the past year when Pam was in treatment I would frequently pick her up at CINJ at 5pm on the second Tuesday of the month.  Off we would head to Panera's on Rt 1 or up  Easton Avenue to the chinese restaurant. Sure we talked about check-ups and treatments but that wasn't all. Over the years we became more than just two women with ovarian cancer. We became friends. We got together to chat about what was happening in our lives. We talked about our husbands and families. We shared stories about places we traveled to. I remember how excited she was when my grandson was born. Then we would head back to CINJ for our monthly group meeting.

I imagined that we would have many more years of friendship but that is not to be. But my memories of this friendship will last forever.

Rest In Peace Pam.

Every Day is a Blessing. And Pam was a blessing in my life.


Anonymous said...

Dee, thank you for this lovely tribute to a wonderful lady.

Maggie H. said...

I am so sorry for your loss. We meet such wonderful people during this journey with cancer and lose them way too soon.