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My best friend has cancer

Thursday, April 25, 2019

I cannot believe I'm writing these words. I cannot believe the last several weeks have been reality and not some distorted, painful nightmare. I needed to say the words to make them real, to say it out loud so I don't eat my feelings.

Some weeks ago my friend and I weren't speaking …over stupid stuff, over boy stuff. She and I had a standing 8a breakfast date, same time, same place for YEARS. That is where we would discuss all aspects of life, work, dreams, you name it. After she met a boy, she kept blowing me off with no notice and I just shut down. I didn't text her, wanted her to feel alienated, similar to what I was feeling. I started biking every Saturday at 8a, feeling powerful and smarmy. I would be fine without Beth. Her daughter texted me from out of town that she was coming home from the Army to take care of her mom and before I could read the rest of the text I called my friend. "What's happening, are you ok?" That's what friends do, in crisis, we put our battle shields up and we erase the nonsense. She shared that she was on a business trip and was feeling poorly, as if she had the flu. They determined it was a blood clot in the saddle of her lung and she was lucky to be alive. After a failed procedure and two stays in ICU she was home and I ran over. I started to cry, knowing that had she died I would have agonized over the loss, knowing that I wasn't speaking to her over some petty nonsense. We cried, we laughed, and I asked her when they were taking out the clot. She said the doctor wanted to give it 6 months to see if her body would absorb it. My response (of course I do not have a medical degree) was you need to get that thing out of you even if it requires open heart surgery.

Less than a week later she decided to get a 2nd opinion from a different pulmonologist and he said he was admitting her that day, the clot had to come out. Praise Jesus I thought, this is a rough road but let's get her well and this ticking time bomb out of her chest.

She sat in the hospital for 5 days whilst they put together her surgical plan...I was there every step, and let me just tell you how grateful I am for forgiveness and for friendship. We prayed for swift healing after the surgery and I decided to drive a couple of hours away for a customer meeting during the surgery. The moment I arrived I got a text from her daughter saying, "it's not a blood clot, it's a tumor." I got back in my car and flew back, the entire time talking myself off the ledge saying we don't know what kind of tumor it is, we don't know anything, we cannot freak out without the facts."

Meanwhile Beth is recovering remarkably from the surgery, I snuck into her hospital room at 6:30a before anyone would arrive (her mother rarely left her side). She grabbed my hand and said it's suspicious cells, it looks bad. After we got her home we were told it was angio-sarcoma, one of the rarest cancers with only a handful of doctors ever having seen it. It was a genetic defect, she would never have known. The tumor they took out was incredibly large, compromising her ability to breathe and changing her heartbeat. This was a woman who was working out several times a week and she had no idea this was inside her. She started chemo last Wednesday and we picked out a wig before she was admitted for 5 full days of "red soldier" chemo. She was given 6 mos - 1 year but I am coming against that in the name of Jesus. I see how God has lined everything up perfectly for her, from diagnosis, to 2nd opinions to strength and support along the way.

Her cardiologist said that he thought it was really cool she would finish her first round of chemo on Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday.

I'm trying to be strong, I'm in it, doing everything I can for her (She's decided to sell her home in the middle of all of this so as to have a place on the first floor, her home now cannot accommodate her recovery) but I see my food falling apart. I see my resolve and my plans withering as I grab for comfort in bags and plates. I see myself asking, why not me or am I next? I feel guilty for having those feelings, I grab for more food.

I know that God is holding both of our hands, I know that food will not make me feel better, in fact, it makes me feel worse, and sometimes hopeless. Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless and I keep reaching out for food and not his hand.

Today I commit to starting afresh with my food plan, my walking routine that gives me peace, my writing that gives me a safe place to speak and the word of God that is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. If you are a praying person, please add my friend Beth to your prayer list, praying for complete healing in the name of Jesus.
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