>Here we are, nearing the end of October. Where did the month go? It’s amazing how time flies. Especially as I get older. As you all know, this month has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a very important month. Earlier in the month I linked to Bradshaw’s blog because she wrote such a perfect tribute to my best friend, a two time breast cancer survivor. I really can’t say anything that would add to what has already been said about this incredible woman, so I’m going to go a different route. And she may totally kill me for this.
In 2000 when Mark and I got married, CareBear came out to spend the week prior to the wedding with me, helping with last minute things and just enjoying each other’s company. Since I moved away and haven’t been her next door neighbor since 1992 we only get to see each other on the rare occasion. So when we get together it is always a treat. When she visited me back in 2000 she had recently finished her first round of chemo for breast cancer number one. It didn’t matter that she had a chest/belly area that looked like a road map. It didn’t matter that she lost all her hair to chemo. It didn’t matter that she was the one-boobed wonder. She ALWAYS found the humor in everything. Everything! She could always make me laugh. And I don’t mean just simple laughter. I mean spraying coffee out of your nose kind of laughter. Spitting soda to the other side of the room kind of laughter. I truly believe that her wild, warped sense of humor is what got her through the rough days of chemo.
So, when she was here for my wedding we had finished up with the flowers, the dress, everything was done. Except my hair. The grey roots were showing through loud and proud, so I got the color in my hair. For anyone who has ever colored their hair, you know how drop dead gorgeous the process is. I had my hair sopped with dye and thrown up in a clippy, and CareBear whips off her wig and said, “Let’s get a picture of us in all our glory!” How do you argue with someone who has kicked breast cancer’s ass to the curb. So outside we went and posed for the camera.
Let me tell you, we are definitely a couple of hot babes! Now don’t go getting any ideas because I’ll just tell you right now, you couldn’t handle it. Nope. No way you could handle all of that!!!
After my hysterectomy I was really struggling with a lot of the healing process. She’d had an emergency hysterectomy in between her first and second cancer. I called her one day and asked her how long she kept bleeding after her surgery. She was quiet for a moment and then said, “Ya know, I really don’t remember. That hysterectomy, to me, was kind of like a simple cold compared to all the other stuff so I just don’t remember it being that bad.” Right there? That is perspective, folks.
After I had my “crying in the garden” episode over the weekend she sent me an email. Assured me that she would totally come and help me with the garden if she lived closer and she understood the whole hormone thing which was probably the actual culprit of the tears rather than the state of the garden. You see, she can’t take hormone replacements. It’s too great a risk because of her cancer history, so hormone pills are bad news for her. She just deals with it. In her email she said:
“This hormone shit is seriously hell. Hell inside your own body and ya just never know when its coming. Mine RARELY comes in the form of tears. It’s 99% of the time anger. ‘snappy, tear your head off anger.’ I get flustered easely. I cant take any pills so I have informed everyone to let me know when they see it happening. Sadly I cant always tell if Im over reacting or what. [Baby Bear] looked at me a couple of times and said in a calm voice “Is this menapause?” It was like a slap in the face and I just looked at him for a second while it processed, then I just started laughing and said “yes [Baby Bear]. I think that was, I’m sorry”. Its so fucking STUPID what a lack of, or too much of, a hormone can do. Hang in there, It TOTALLY SUCKS, but once you get the meds right it will make all the difference.”
This is the perspective that she gives me. The reminder that even when I’m feeling crazy that I’m not alone. That someone else has been through it (and MUCH worse) and that it’ll all be OK. And she makes me laugh in the process.
She came to visit me again in 2003 and although it had been three years since we’d seen each other, it was as if no time had passed. It is always as if no time has passed. That is true friendship. And that is why I am ever grateful for those who are working to find a cure for this cancer that nearly robbed me of the best friend a person could ever ask for!