So happy to have heard from a friend of mine . . .

22 Sep

Last summer I met a lot of fellow cancer patients during my chemo rounds. My chemo rounds were on Thursdays, every 21 days. It packed a pretty powerful cancer killing punch . . . hence the 21 days in between. For the first six months or so I also had weekly Herceptin infusions. Then, after surgery I had Herceptin infusions every three weeks for the next six months. It gave me the opportunity to interact with many fellow cancer patients. Going every week for the first six months; I met so many people. Some came in for weekly chemo and some every three weeks (all on Thursdays). And, one of the really amazing things is that, for the most part, I only met the Thursday people (aside from those that were there getting chemo every day – most were weekly or every three weeks). So I only saw a fraction of the patients that came through there.

There was Cathy, who I met on my first day of chemo. We shared a room together. Little did I know on that day that her friendship would save my life. After meeting on my first day of chemo (Cathy and I visited the whole day) we decided to sit next to each other at our next chemo rounds and since I had to arrive so early for chemo rounds, I would usually get the semi-private, two bed room. Most of the time, the staff would save the other bed for when Cathy arrived. Usually it worked out for us to share the room.

Anyway, for more on how Cathy’s friendship saved my life, take a look at postings from the end of April 2009/beginning of May 2009 – I wrote about it then – how I went into anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and was pretty much out of time, when Cathy’s daughter – who just happened to be visiting from San Francisco and who just happened to be an oncology nurse – walked into our room and discovered me – bright red, not breathing, not much time left –  she rushed to get medical staff and quite literally saved my life. I still shudder when I think about that day and the difference that seconds or even a minute would have made, had Cathy’s daughter Lisa walked in just a little bit later. Phew, close call.

But, I digress. My point really was that I met a lot of people in chemo.  Some I really get to know well. There is a particular bond that seems to develop, maybe it is a little like the bond that develops between those who are in combat together.

There was one woman I met who has been on my mind for some time. We met on her first chemo round (my third or fourth . . . so I was a seasoned – ha, ha, ha – cancer patient by then). She was getting the same drugs I was getting. From what I understand, they give you Taxotere as either a last line of defense – if your cancer is not responsive to other chemotherapies. Or, they give it to you if you have an aggressive form of cancer. This woman has inflammatory breast cancer. That is aggressive. It is different than the kind I had (which was also aggressive).

Her husband was with her that day. She had my nurse (Dawn, simply an angel, really) taking care of her that day . . . just like I did on my first day. Dawn seemed to take on all of the first time chemo patients, she was an amazing and very, very caring nurse to me. Anyway, this woman and I talked throughout that entire first day. She told me about her diagnosis, her two daughters, showed me pictures of her children (two very beautiful girls). We exchanged emails and corresponded for a little while and then I didn’t hear back from her. Anyway, you can imagine what I might have thought. Well, I just heard from her. She has had some real struggles, such a rough time. And, she is still going through chemo. I was so relieved to hear from her. I really enjoyed meeting her and it was meeting her, passing along some of my experience with the chemo her (she was, understandably worried about what the side affects were going to be etc.) that made me realize that I want to be involved in cancer support. I am not saying that I did much of anything for her. But, I so wanted to help her and I feel that I have to be involved in helping cancer patients. I do not yet know what form that will take, but, I know that it is something I want to do, I feel compelled to do it now.

I am so glad to hear from her and to know that she is fighting and getting treated. There is so much more now that can be done these days. Prayers are always good though, so, if you would, please send some her way for me.

I just received an email from her (so thrilled to hear from her). She told me of some of her struggles (hospitalizations and complications, that she is still going through chemotherapy). And, then at the end of her email she said, “I can’t complain”. Wow. Obviously, she could complain, no one would begrudge her that. But, my sense is that she truly doesn’t and that she lives joyfully for herself and for her family.

I hope to see her soon. I wish I had a little more time before my surgery. But, I am just so, so glad to hear from her.

Please keep my friend in your prayers.

Love and peace,

Lisa

2 Responses to “So happy to have heard from a friend of mine . . .”

  1. Sandy September 22, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    Lisa,

    I remember meeting this gal the same day you did, and seeing the pictures of her daughters. 🙂 I’m glad to hear she’s still fighting; she’s a really nice, classy lady.

    Love,

    Sandy

  2. cancerfree2b September 24, 2010 at 2:54 AM #

    Sandy,

    That’s right, of course. Yes, she is really nice and quite a classy gal. I hope to see her sometime soon.

    Thank you so much for driving me to and from Cedars Sinai yesterday and thank you for the wonderful lunch. Wasn’t that place great? It was great to have a chance to catch up. And, fortunately we survived the lunatics on the road yesterday . . . wow. 🙂

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Love,
    Lisa

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