I received a message from my friend Liz. Liz and I have so many connections through friends and family that it's baffling how we haven't been friends for 20 years already. The reason we met? Cancer. She was the one that finally got me to join the Young Adult Cancer Program at Roswell. She's one of the people that gets it. We talk about stuff people our age should not be talking about or worrying about. Our friendship is priceless. She texted me yesterday to tell me that one of the members of our group had passed away. Her name is Casey. I didn't know Casey very well. We weren't friends - not because we didn't like each other, but because we just didn't cross paths enough that we had gotten to know each other. From what I've read about Casey in the last 24 hours, through facebook postings from my friends, is enough to know that I really like Casey and we probably would've gotten along great. I read that she was positive throughout her treatment and she was the ray of light that so many people need while they're going through scary times. She was an amazing friend who always wore a smile.
I was sad when I read the news from Liz, but what followed the news was completely unexpected. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I broke down. There are certain things that make cancer real. Casey was my age. She, too, had a gynecological cancer. That's about as real as it gets.
A few months ago I went to my check up in the GYN clinic at Roswell. I remember that day perfectly - as Roswell memories seldom fade. I was in a really good mood. I was feeling great. I was chatting and joking with the women at the desk for a while. We've gotten to know each other over the last 3 years and their happy faces are comforting when you walk in. I remember sitting down after checking in and seeing a woman in the chairs against the windows. She didn't look well. Seeing people like that in Roswell isn't uncommon, but seeing them in that department, having been in rough shape in those same chairs, hits close to home. I remember the man sitting with her looked like someone I used to work with but I didn't want to bother them to say hello. Today I read Casey's obituary. That man I saw? That was Sam. Sam and I used to work together and he's one of the nicest men you'll ever meet. Yesterday Sam lost his daughter. That woman in the waiting room was Casey.
Moral of this story? Cancer is stupid and it makes me angry. Casey didn't do anything wrong. She didn't deserve this. Her family and friends don't deserve this. Another member of our group at Roswell made an excellent point at a seminar recently: we're not battling cancer. It's not a win or lose situation. We're doing the best we can. Casey didn't lose her battle with cancer, she did the best she could. We're all just doing the best we can.
Conversation with Liz.
Forever grateful for my friends.