I recently reconnected with a friend from college on Facebook. It seemed from her posts that she or someone she knew was about to start a battle with cancer, and so I wrote to her to find out more details. I was not prepared for her response.
I got diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in July 2013 — Many surgeries and 12 rounds of chemo later (6 months) I was in remission. Then 3 months after that, I ended up in the ER with a grapefruit tumor on my ovary … no kids for us … they did not do chemo after that, and I am wondering if they should have, but I can’t worry about that now. Back in April (this year) I was sick for like 3 weeks … couldn’t shake it and they said it wasn’t cancer, but it was. It’s progressed now – on my spleen, under one of my scars, and another spot (you can feel the lump) in my abdomen. Usually colon cancer spreads to the lungs and liver and mine did not, so that is good, but who knows what will develop. I am having the little lump removed Tuesday and I then I will begin chemo soon afterwards. The chemo sucks, but I get set up at Dana Farber and then go home with a portable pump and finish the infusion at home. Not sure exactly how it will go … I may need to have my spleen out too, but we’ll see.
What could I say? I simply told her that I would pray for her and her family and ask others to do the same.
I step into the forest and start climbing up Mount Philo, my legs churning quickly under me as I move up the rocky and rooted trail I know so well. This is my quick escape, the place I can reach in ten minutes when I feel the need to move, to clear my head.
Today, the conversation I had with my friend a few days prior still claws at me. I, like many, know far too many people who are affected by cancer. I think about the patients with ports in their bodies so that toxins can flow through their veins to beat back this silent killer. I think about how blessed I am to have this opportunity to move through this beautiful landscape and I push a little harder.
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