Ever and ever...

It was Thursday. I decided I needed to find an old picture from my Facebook archives to display on my page for TBT (Throw Back Thursday). I have been on FB a fairly long time and figured I would scroll back through time on my photos until something struck me as awesome. I placed my curser over the word "photo" and clicked. My eyes followed along as a dozen or so pictures started to load one at a time across my screen in neat sequential rows. My eyes instantly fell on a photo of me taken last year on the first day of chemotherapy. I was grinning ear to ear posing next to one of the Victory in the Valley volunteers who also happens to be one of our local sports casters. I recognized her and boldly asked her to confirm her identity. "You're Jenn Bates, aren't you!" is what I said. "Yes I am!" she answered. I told her how envious my husband would be that I met her and she acquiesced when I asked for a picture to send to my husband who was at work. My daughter snapped the pic with my phone. Jenn is a beautiful soul and soon we were lost in conversation as fast friends. We have been friends ever since and often meet for coffee just to catch up. I love this picture so I selected the picture for posting and added the following caption: "TBT...the first meeting of me and Jenn...chemo day 2013. I crushed it and we became fast friends forever...at least until I die...LOL!" This did not seem to me to be out of character for me to write so openly about my possible death or what just happens to come to mind. I clicked "post" shut my computer and went about getting ready for work. Later that morning I swung over to FB to see what was shaking in FB World. My daughter had left the following comment on the photo: "Your last statement is so awkward. Followed with "LOL". The awkwardness made me laugh so hard."  I fired off a clever quip in reply. As I was placing my phone back into my jacket pocket a picture flashed through my mind. This one was taken just about a year ago on my last day of chemotherapy. One of my dear friend Deb and me. Same chair in the chemo room. I am even wearing the identical goofy grin on my face. She had driven down from Kansas City as a delightful surprise to sit with me for my last treatment. A sufferer of anal cancer as well we had instantly connected and had been supporting each other the last couple of years through treatments and surgeries. She was NED when the photo was captured and she was tan and fit and healthy with a good crop of hair regrowth smoothed back away from her beautiful radiant face. She had brought me a bracelet that she had made for me supporting our blue ribbon cancer and we posed like a couple of kids with friendship bracelets. "Was that only a year ago?" I thought, my vision suddenly blurred by tears. My words "fast friends forever...at least until I die...LOL" echoed in my brain. You see, my beautiful friend died in March of the hideous disease we share, our common ground falling out from under her so rapidly she barely had time to tell me goodbye. I miss her. I grieve for her and suffer bouts of fury when I think of her at the mercy of this cancer that invaded our bodies and our lives, up ending our families and leaving a wake of loss and destruction. We were fast friends forever too. Then one of us died. She is still my friend though and will be forever. I think of her all the time when I see one of her kid's posted Facebook pictures or her best friends posts or when I witness an amazing putt on a televised pro-golf tournament...she loved golf! She loved her life and because I knew her I am reminded daily to live mine to the fullest. I didn't change the caption on my photo because it was meant to poke fun at my circumstances but I'm here to tell you friends are forever and ever and ever...

 

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Annabelle threw a punch at your cancer.
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Michele, How sad and how beautiful. I can only quote what I read long ago in a Spanish novel about memories...your friend is not dead so long as you remember her. That is what we do for those who go before us...keep them alive by remembering them.

Many hugs.
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Michelle I just love you and I love every post your write and I always get you and what your saying. Again I look over to your pictures and I see your hands and it reminds me of how I have thought of you and your hands when I was getting my PET and CT scans and I have seen such grace in you through the simplicity of your hands and all you share and if there was a medal for grace it would definitely go to you.. I have my PET again on Tuesday and I know I will think of you again and hope I can have some of the same grace you have shown so many times here...hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
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Michele,
I am so sorry for your loss. I just started 5 more radiation treatments after finishing 30 2 weeks ago. My rad onc said my 5cm tumor still had a couple small, granular nodules. So, instead of heading to the beach today, I re-started radiation yesterday. 5 treatments is nothing- I can do this easily. It's the uncertainty, the "Will it be gone after these 5?" that is making me kind of crazy. I wish you the peace that surpasses all understanding as you grieve the loss of your friend. Prayers to you.

Lori
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So sorry for your loss. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
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I am so sorry that your beautiful and loving friend was taken away by this horrible disease. I have been around the support sites for almost 6 years now and, although I never met any of them in person, have had to say goodbye to many friends who I came to know and love through our virtual connection. It is heartbreaking. Your memories of Deb will keep her spirit alive and I know she is up above smiling and laughing, knowing that her precious friend is still here, kicking cancer's ass. Love and hugs to you, Michele.
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A lovely picture of two lovely friends! She will always be with you in your heart!
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Michelle-i just love reading your posts. This was so beautiful and so sad at the same time. The picture of the two of you is so sweet! You are right...she looks healthy and fit. I couldn't help wondering what transpired to take her so quickly? We are all so. Blessed to have these dear friends. ..even if just for a little while. ♡Sara
Sara, Deb was NED still in December. At the end of January her cancer woke up again and spread like wild fire. She was gone at the end of March despite all their best efforts. What happened to her keeps me grateful for these peaceful and pain free days I am having knowing that this barbaric cancer can morph into something more aggressive. Thanks for your thoughtful and kind words about us. She was so fun and it was such a surprise to see her that day! It's how I like to remember her. Michele
Oh Michelle that is just so tragic and sad. Im glad you have such sweet memories!
Really got me thinking. I have friends who are angels and will come over to be with me at appointments, radiation or chemo. I have some other angels that are anal and colorectal survivors. They are all so vibrant now and NED. I am hoping to be NED again someday soon.Not one of us knows how much time we have on this earth and even now I forget to be present and cherish each day.
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I'm so sorry about your friend Deb. It's scary that she went so fast after being NED.
It scares me too so I try not to think about it too much. I try to stay in the moment and not get hung up on what could happen. It's hard though...
So many emotions popped up in me after reading your wonderfully written post. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking the time to share those memories.
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp

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