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Monday, February 9, 2015

Cancer, Life, and Friendship

One day you're just plugging away at life, paying bills, cooking dinner, folding laundry...The next you're making plans for what will likely be your final visit with a very, very dear friend. One who you'd never expect to be dealt such devastating news.
Life is crazy like that, with its twists and turns. And cancer has no social, moral, or ethical boundaries. It doesn't care that you're still young. So very young. It doesn't care how vivacious you are. It doesn't give one single fuck about your plans, your dreams, your desire to make those around you happy for all the days of your life. It will cut you down without a second thought about the contributions you make to society, and it won't even give you the chance to kick its ass. It just silently goes to work killing you without you knowing it's even there, until it's just too late.
I'm mourning my friend, M, right now, and she's not even gone yet. I'm mourning the fact that I moved away and haven't seen her since then. I'm mulling over the fact that I once saw her every single day and we shared laughter and tears, gardening tools and meals...We took walks and drives, we pampered our wives and commiserated with each other about how our houses needed cleaning...
We bonded, like fast friends do. We weren't just neighbors, but very close, very dear friends. And she always made me laugh, and always knew just how to brighten up a day.
I think about the situation she has been dealt, and I'm pissed. It's just not fair! NOT FAIR!
She was always the one to say, "I need to go exercise, gotta keep healthy!" or "I'm eating this now because I read that it is good for our health."
Ever since I got the news on Wednesday, I've been doing some research. I wanted to know what it is that we're up against. We already know that aside from the large mass that was found, the CT scans and subsequent biopsies showed more in her lungs and even more in her liver. I know that this means we're looking at stage III, likely stage IV disease. The prognosis, at least as far as I can decipher from what I'm reading, is poor.
"Surgical excision remains the cornerstone of therapy. There are no long-term survivors of stage II or III disease; therefore, early diagnosis and treatment remain crucial."
"Five-year survival for all patients with this melanoma is only 3 to 22%."
I'm frightened for my friend, M. I'm frightened for her wife, P. I'm saddened that this is happening to them, the sweet, caring, loving, nurturing people who spent every birthday, holiday, and random celebration with The Wifester and I. The ones who took care of our pets and plants and who left "Congratulations" balloons in our living room for us to come home to after we flew to Canada to get married. And the ones who were there for us through our difficult times, too. When we told them of my diagnosis with my eye disease, it was M who cried and asked me, "Are you going to be left in darkness?"
And now it is me, crying for her, but the darkness she is facing is so much bigger than my loss of sight. I don't know how to support her through this. I don't know how to support P through this. If we still lived next door, I'd pop over and do laundry, cook some meals, wash some floors...
But I'm in Ohio, now, and they're still back in Tennessee. I want to go see my friend, and hold her tight. I want to tell her that it will all be okay and that she is strong enough to fight this thing. I truly hope that she is. But I'm frightened, as I know she is. As I know her wife is.
How do you support someone who is probably dying, much sooner than ever anticipated? How do you support her wife of 20 years?
I can't imagine. And I'm so flipping pissed off that of all the people in this world, this had to happen to them.
It's not right. It's not fair.
Fuck you, cancer!