Thursday, April 23, 2015

I feel so ...

I know I haven't posted in a while. Actually, I've been working on this post for a while editing and adding to it. 

A few weeks ago a very dear friend's husband passed away from prostate cancer. I knew he had no treatment options left but it still came as a shock to me. He had been a vibrant 61 year old who had retired to spend time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

It sure didn't seem fair. Cancer does that - it takes good people. Don't get me wrong I am sure it takes the lives of not so great people too. But it is torture for those with cancer and those on the journey with us.

My first thought when I heard the news was what it would be like for me if my rock, my husband of 37 years, passed away.  I don't know how I would handle it. How could I get through a funeral. And then what would happen the first time I couldn't open a jar or move a piece of furniture ? Or what happens when I feel sick and still have to walk Amber in the rain or snow? Or how do I make meals for one?

But them another odd feeling came over me. How could I face my friend.  How could I, NED for 5 years since my recurrence face my friend. Would she look and me and think - why are you still here and my husband is gone?

I felt wary of going to the wake and seeing her for the first time since her husband's death. I hesitated getting out of the car and entering the funeral home. I  waited on line and finally reached her two sons. They called me by name gave me a hug and thanked me for coming. Then I moved over to my friend. She teared up - and so did I as we hugged and I told her how sorry I was. Then she told me that she prays for me every day because having cancer sucks.Yes, it sure does. But she wasn't angry at me and that made me feel so much better.

But I continued thinking about my friend and her husband and even mentioned them during my monthly gynecologic cancer support group. When it came to my turn to update everyone I told the group how unnerving it was for me, a survivor, to face my friend when her husband died. Then I asked the women, a majority are currently in treatment, if it was OK for them to hear my reports on being NED.  At times I felt guilty about being in good health among all these women struggling to make treatment decisions and dealing with side effects. Every single one of them said they were happy I was at the group and that my presence gave them hope. Those words brought tears to my eyes and I could once again bury my survivor's guilt for a little while longer.

Cancer changes your life and your outlook on life in more ways than you can imagine.

Every Day is a Blessing!

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