Cancer Lesson #77: It’s Not Always All About Me

I feel guilty writing this post because this lesson is the kind where someone else gets the pain, and I get the lesson.

Clearly, this isn’t fair — which makes it partly a repeat of Lesson #43 — but it’s different too, because this post is about a friend just reached the stage where it was time to call hospice.

This seems very wrong, especially since she was diagnosed after me, and yet, we’ve known for some time it would come to this.

Up til now, I’ve managed to not think about it, reasoning (or rationalizing) quite logically that I would deal with it when it comes.

Except it’s not me who has to deal with it; it’s her.

I can only do and be whatever my friend needs or wants. And sometimes she doesn’t know what that is. After all — as she’s pointed out several times — she’s never done this before either.

“Put yourself in her shoes,” I think. “What would you want?”

But I am not my friend, and this has nothing to do with what I want — or even what she really wants, for that matter. That option is no longer on the table.

So, I will visit when she is up to it, bring her sundaes and applesauce for as long as she can eat them, make stupid jokes, and sometimes cry. I will try to remember to listen more and talk less, to continue to enjoy the friendship we have shared for more than fifteen years.

And I will send this post into cyberspace, asking you — my friends and followers — to spare a moment for a prayer, or a wish, or some positive thoughts that my friend will go out of this life with all the love with which she’s lived it.

I will remind myself that it’s not about me.

Still, here I am writing this post, making it about me.
And in the end, it kind of is — just a little — for I am losing my friend.

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These tables are from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, an organization that raises awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and supports research for a cure. Ovarian cancer is a particularly sneaky disease, rarely diagnosed in its early stages.
I hope you will take note of the symptoms.

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9 thoughts on “Cancer Lesson #77: It’s Not Always All About Me

  1. Pingback: Cancer Lesson #77: It’s Not Always All About Me | Reading, Writing, Ranting and Raving

  2. So sorry to hear about your friend. Ovarian cancer is especially insidious, and there is no screening. I always share my oncologist’s advice: always see your gynecologist FIRST for ANY strange symptoms below the waist. Rule out the worst scenario first. Don’t accept a “wait and see” attitude. Ovarian cancer grows rapidly and can develop to a stage 3 or 4 within a few months. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid if you suspect something is wrong. Early detection is vital with ovarian cancer.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, and your point about visting your GYN is a good one. I would go one further. From my friend’s experience, I know it’s also important to see a gynecological oncologist if at all possible if you are diagnosed with any type of “below-the-belt” women’s cancer. I’m not saying breast cancer is an easy disease in any way — it could still kill me — but ovarian is just a nasty bugger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh absolutely. A gyn onc is a life-saver. Research actually shows that your chances of survival go way up if you go to a gyn onc. They are the specialists. And if you live in a small town, it’s worth going into the city for the best hospital you can find, especially a teaching hospital that will be up to date on the latest treatments. Look around and do your research, if possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We are saying goodbye to her too. She is Miss May 2016 in the F2F quilt block swap, and always planned and hoped to be around long enough to see her quilt made. So we are going to make that happen for her. Against stupid deadlines, dozens of quilt blocks are arriving in Washington State from the US, UK, Australia, France and the Netherlands. There, they will be made up into a quilt following design of the ‘virtual quilt’ I am making up from all the block photos. If the real thing doesn’t get there in time, she’ll still see her quilt realised, and the finished item will be donated by her family to the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project in her name, to be auctioned to raise funds. I haven’t posted anything about this yet, since I’d like to respect her privacy, but at the same time, a joint effort of this sort, and for such a good cause, needs to be celebrated, so I’ll write something at some point. She’s a darling, and she’ll be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She told me about what’s happening with the quilt, and it’s great you’re making it happen. Another group has offered to take all the quilting material she has — which is enough to stock a small quilting shop — and use it to make quilts to donate in her name, a fact that brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. And two of them will help her finish the ones she’s started.

      You are right. She will be missed by many — more than we can even imagine, I’m sure.

      “Funny is the new sexy.”

      Liked by 1 person

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