Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Cancer Can't Do

My old friend from middle school has been diagnosed with cancer and starts chemo this week.  I am sad for her and for those in her life.  She recently got divorced last year, but has a new boyfriend, and has 3 little girls at home.  She is only 35.

It is so frightening to see people my age (or even younger) having to fight cancer.  I guess at any age really.  I have a family history as well, so it forces me to face the fact that I might have to battle it at some point too.

I sent her a care package of a cute knit stocking cap, my good luck Tigger socks, old pictures of us from when we were wild and free, and a book, "What Cancer Can't Do."  Just reading the title of the book brought tears to my eyes.  And I'm not a super sappy person - most days.

I read through the book before packaging it up and it was so endearing.  I knew if I was in her shoes, I would feel comforted by the words and the spiritual insight the book provided.  Still - it is a scary spot to be in.  My other close friend just finished her last round of chemo and watching her go through that was terrible.

My friend who is just starting her chemo treatment is mostly a Facebook friend now, as we no longer live in the same town and we lost touch over 20 years ago!  Doesn't even seem possible that I could be that old, but it's true.  Who knows what happens in high school to make you lose touch with certain people.  Boyfriends, interests, trouble with school, problems at home...??

I know this particular friend was into her boyfriend so much, they rarely left the bedroom I think.  Some of my other friends thought she was a 'slut' and didn't really want to hang out with her.  I enjoyed having wild friends like that because I could relate to their rebelliousness.  But, I had also been persecuted for my wayward tendencies and I was trying to 're-brand' myself about the time I was a junior in high school.  So I started distancing myself somewhat from my bad girl friends.  Or was it because I was super into my loser boyfriend? The one who wore black leather driving gloves driving his powder-yellow Datsun pickup truck?  I can hardly remember...

Either way, this friend and I lost touch.  If it wasn't for Facebook, I wouldn't even know where she was.  Or that she was battling this.  She grew up, became even more beautiful, had three beautiful daughters and still has a blast with her girlfriends.  I'm jealous.  I miss those fun friendships.  I wish I had girlfriends rallying around me when I'm at my worst.

Living two states away from everyone is sad.  Being a mom can be isolating enough, not to mention being relatively new somewhere without all the connections of your home base.  Facebook makes me heartsick for the people in my life that I've known since I was a young, clueless girl.  The girl who just wanted to get the hell out of her home town and start over.

Funny to look back now and wonder what the hell I was thinking.  But at least there is a way to keep in touch with technology these days.  And I am able to be a friend from afar and hopefully bring her, and other friends, a moment of joy in their sad and scary times.

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