Yesterday, February 4, 2015, was World Cancer Day. I didn’t realize it until today when I saw it on Facebook. I also saw a post by a friend whose daughter is going through chemo where she said something to the effect that no one knows what they are going through until they have gone through it themselves.
Isn’t this true of all our life experiences? Someone going through a divorce, having had surgery, losing a loved one—all these situations we can empathize with but until we go through such experiences, no one knows what it is like.
Walk a mile in my shoes. What a true statement! And we all do have our cross to bear. Perspective is our own reality. Others perspective is their reality. They are never the same.
Another post I saw said we need to quit saying, “let me know if I can do anything.” The person who wrote this said they didn’t want to bother others to do what needed to be done. This is just not fair. I have had friends who went through chemo and radiation and I told them to let me do anything to help. I meant it. I would have cleaned their house, cooked them dinner, run their errands, anything because I felt so darn helpless.
The first experience with cancer was with one of my best friends. Kim C. was a young 38 year old mother of two young sons. She had just graduated from college and was going to become a teacher. She was substituting in the area to get the feel of the schools. She held an exercise class once a week that I attended. She was a healthy eater, got plenty of exercise and was not an ounce overweight. Of all people to get cancer, she was not one I would have pointed to.
I asked her to let me know if I could do anything. I did not hold back. She did not ask me often to do much so I made soup for her, breakfast for her family and visited as often as I could. In the end she asked me to take her goldfish, and so I did. Bob gave us much pleasure in the coming years. I still think of Kim when I see goldfish.
My good friend and hairdresser, Terry V. was the next intimate cancer victim. Terry was such a wonderful human being. She was smart, empathetic and very sure of herself. She was knowledgeable in many subjects, probably because she was so smart and a very good hairdresser. Hairdressers hear many secrets and talk about many subjects.
Terry was a healthy eater (probably one of the most healthy I know), she didn’t exercise that I knew of but she was not overweight. She loved hearing live music and would go anywhere with anyone who asked. She joined our guitar group and became quite good at finger picking songs.
Doctors gave Terry six months at the most and she made it over a year and a half. She didn’t ask much of me but I made goodies and food and took them to her and her husband. The last thing she wanted was some Italian cookies that were made with dates. I told her I would find dates and make them for her. Instead, I found the cookies at the big grocery store in town. I bought her a dozen and also a box of dates.
In the middle of winter all my girlfriends were gathering at the local bar to hear one of our favorite bands, The Blue Olives. (If you see them playing, go, they are tremendous.) Much to our surprise one of the girlfriends walked in with Terry at her arm. We all swarmed over her. She smiled the entire concert. I think we all did.
I didn’t see her again after the date cookies. Her spirit is with me and the many memories of our fun times together.
My friend and sister in crime, Garnet S. is going through her third round of chemo and radiation. I wish I could do something so I visit and set up girlfriend outings. You see Garnet was a bit of a hermit throughout her life. I would go several years and not see her, and then I would see her often. We worked together for about six months at one time. (Mental hospital, yes, really!)
I am not thinking of Garnet not making it through this. She is part of me and she has to stay part of me. I will not give up on her. I love her too much.
Right now she has gotten me hooked on Zumba. She gave me a collection of DVDs for Christmas. I gave her a sachet… We did Zumba at her place one day and I really like it. I am so glad she still feels good enough to exercise. Radiation for like 27 days straight. My God, that would drive anyone nuts.
So back to Zumba, her girlfriend Charyl gave her a Zumba whore outfit for Christmas. I gave her my tattoo sleeve. She loved it. We have plans to get together in our Zumba whore costumes and Zumba till we drop. More later…