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Dad, Mom, and baby Meghan

Dad, Mom, and baby Meghan

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Not again, in memory of a sister survvior

In the world of cancer survivors, something happens when you fight the fight with others, you develop a bond like no other, I imagine soldiers would understand that bond. In support groups, you can talk about topics your family may not want to hear about. Every single woman I have known with breast cancer wanted one thing; to survive. All of us went though amputations (yes mastectomies are amputations) or lumpectomies, got poison dripped through our blood streams or were burned by daily radiation for weeks on end, many had chemo and radiation. We did it to survive cancer, most of us were NED after treatment, some for many years, some for only weeks.

Those with metastasis had ongoing cancer treatments for years, it weakened bodies, stole away jobs, but only rarely did it weaken the spirit. Each woman who marched the hard march of stage 4 breast cancer did it with resolve, strength, and will to live.

It is the message we all hated to get; "I saw the oncologist today, the cancer is back" the floor dropped out beneath us and we felt fear for our dear friend, we know the slow march had begun, very few people beat stage 4 breast cancer. A minuscule amount maybe, blessedly lucky women. So we all know it is only a matter of time, even though we also pray and pray for remission. None of us give up on each other, not even in the very end, I think we all pray for miracles.

So it hurts when we lose a friend, hurt does not even describe the shock and pain, we are devastated, angry, forlorn... Not again, not again, not again, not again.

I and my sister survivors at BCSN lost another dear friend today, she has not been a presence the last year as she has been ill , in and out of hospitals, but steadfastly working at her job as editor of a newspaper. Kathy was the first person to welcome me as I timidly introduced myself to BCSN in 2003.

Kathy once said to me:

I have to reply to the comment that God only gives you what you can handle. It's true but I have a friend who said, and I don't if she was repeating a saying she'd heard or what, but she said: I know God only gives me what I can handle, but I wish he didn't think I was so competent. Hang in there. Kathy

Kathy was more than just a good friend to all of us during those first years, she was a advocate for survivors, and shared her journey weekly in a journal for her newspaper. She was quick to offer support and a shoulder to lean on to our group members. When her cancer came back she never once complained, she just faced it head on with her customary determination. I was amazed by her resolve and strength.

When I told our group we were adopting, she was the first person to donate funds in support of our decision, and then followed that with package after package of books she bought from estate sales. She hoped we could sell them and make more money towards our adoptions. That was what she was like, always lending a hand, always the first person to send money for flowers for a sister survivor who was declining. I personally felt desolate when her posts fell off as she got weaker from treatments. In an online group that is never a good sign, and for those survivors who communicate via emails, it is terribly difficult to accept, because you know, this is it, the beginning of the end.

Kathy, I wish I could have talked to you to tell you how much you meant to me, I hope you already knew, I will miss you forever my dear friend.

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