Life is always throwing us a curve ball… just when you think you have it under control something else comes along.
Remember when I wrote about my little friend Ellie? She is almost 12 and she has crohn’s disease. Ellie is in the same year as my son. Well, about 10 weeks ago Ellie’s Mum (Bec) rang to tell me the devastating news that she (the Mum) has breast cancer. I was stunned. I thought she was ringing to see if we wanted to catch up in the school holidays. I did not expect to hear that. No one ever does. Let me also add that Bec just turned 30. Let me say that again – Bec is 30 years old.
Bec is my gorgeous friend. She is a loving mother of an 11 year old girl and an 18 month old baby boy. She is married to a wonderful man. Life is good for her. It’s full and rich and busy. No one can believe she now has breast cancer.
Bec and I were meant to be friends. I was brought in to her corner via her daughter and we’ve been building a friendship over the last couple of years. I have wanted to know every single detail of her treatment and her diagnosis. Over the last two months I have been spending time with her, listening and lending an ear.
Things move so fast with a breast cancer diagnosis. Chemo is happening, then radiation and surgery. All the decisions and second opinions are overwhelming…
Last week we spent some time together and we decided to take a little walk around my suburb. When Bec feels good we go for a walk so she can fill me in on what she’s feeling, any side effects and treatments. I always want to know and I probably stalk her way too much! We end up texting essays sometimes!
My heart aches a little bit for her. She is just beautiful and doesn’t deserve this. No one does. But Bec is really tough, and she will not be beaten. I can see that she is fighting the good fight. Yesterday she was a little quivery though and she said she felt so bad for feeling down in the dumps. I told her she needs to feel these emotions and sit with them when they come… the only way is up from there so then we looked at some fun housey stuff online and her smile came back!
I don’t have any advice to give her because I haven’t been where she is. I don’t need to give her advice because that would be wrong and insulting. All I can do is listen. I have tonnes of empathy. I’ve been in and out of hospital and dealt with many doctors for 18 years. That’s all I’ve got to offer, and I hope it helps.
Being with Bec has taught me a few new things. It’s hard to explain… but I know I am sick of hearing people whinge about stupid things. I get irritated when people are being selfish. Bec didn’t have breast cancer 2 months ago, but today she has no hair and battling to get through the days. This could be any one of us. We shouldn’t take life for granted. We shouldn’t take other people for granted. We need to be kinder and less involved in ourselves. I also know that if she can get up every day with a smile on her face (which she does!) and can get through this, then I can do just about anything. We all can, and Bec will too when she’s well again. Nothing will ever hold her down. Life has changed for her. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be a better person in so many ways when this is all over. She’ll be stronger and she’ll be unstoppable. She’ll have a perspective on life which we all want/need. I’ll be watching and listening to her then…
Bec has been keeping a journal and writes in it every single day. I hope one day when she’s strong again she shares it with others who might be going on the same path as her. For now, I just want to wish her the best. Keep her in your thoughts friends. I’ll keep you updated too!
PS. Bec said it was ok for me to blog about her and she read it before I hit publish.
PPS. This one’s from Bec… “No matter your age, please get your breasts checked & learn how to self examine (regularly), trust your instincts and even if you’re young like me, don’t tell yourself it’s nothing, head to your GP and get peace of mind. Don’t be told its nothing until you get further testing, my GP was onto it in an instant so I was fortunate that he was thorough and treated it seriously from the get go. It’s better found earlier than later, particularly being younger, it tends to be more aggressive. No one wants to hear that frightening word “malignant”, however, at least I’m given the opportunity to fight with all my heart, will & determination. Having Katrina as support through this, makes my days brighter, truly an awesome friend. I was initially hesitant/reserved to have my story shared, but then I turned it into a positive – the more awareness particularly for woman in their 20’s/30’s the better (as we are not offered routine testing)! So spread the word by all means“.
PPPS. Ellie is doing infliximab for her crohn’s and is doing so well at the moment. That’s a huge plus!