My Friend has Cancer. There, I said it. She has stage 4 breast cancer. It still seems unreal. It still seems like a really awful rumor. I still have hope that she is going to call me and say it was just one big mistake.
She has cancer. My beautiful, wonderful friend has cancer. And while, plain and simple, it totally sucks, I am taking a step back to realize what I have learned, what I believe and what I want from all of this.
I have learned
… No one is immune to this awful disease. Believe me, I’ve read the stories of young moms with young children diagnosed with breast cancer. I cried for them, even though I’d never met them. But honestly, I never imagined I would be watching a close friend, at the age of 36, fight this fight.
… A community coming together for a single family is a beautiful thing. Truly. A groundswell of support, for a single purpose, is awe-inspiring. To rally around a family in their darkest hours can bring out the best in people.
… The true meaning of strength and courage. I’ve seen it come to life, right in front of me. I’ve walked beside it. My friend and her entire family have stepped up to the challenge of this fight and, believe me, they aren’t backing down.
… These are unchartered waters for us all … but more importantly for my friend and her family. No one knows what the next treatment will bring, what her scan will show, and what the future truly holds. And we all need to be okay with that. Life brings uncertainty so I lean on my faith to gain a glimpse of understanding.
… in prayer. I mean, I really believe in prayer. I think a community of people can truly storm the gates of heaven with a single purpose. A prayer.
… my friend is going to beat this. With her community behind her and our prayers surrounding her, she’s got this.
… in her doctors and nurses, and her treatment. This is the most difficult path she is going to walk but with every treatment, she is taking the reigns and standing up to cancer.
… the obvious. A cure for cancer.
… my friend’s young children to continue to simply be the wonderful, innocent children they are and take in the joys of life.
… my friend’s entire family to feel the love and support of this amazing community rallying around them.
… my friend and her brave husband to know that they are the strongest people I know.
Here’s what I can do.
- Be there for my friend every step of the way. Simple.
- Stop doubting what I say and questioning if I said the right thing to her. She only needs to know that I love her. Period.
- Support her family. Her kids, her sweet husband, her siblings and her parents. This is a family affair. They are in this together and all need our love.
- Keep my own children informed, and teach them about strength and courage.
- Donate to cancer research.
- Pray. Sitting among friends and complete strangers praying the rosary is powerful. It can bring light to darkness, and offer a glimmer of peace during uncertain times.
And, finally, here’s what I know. I hate cancer.
But here’s what I love. Friendship. While my friend’s life has been completely turned upside down, she can count on her army of friends and family to walk alongside her. And to me, right now, that’s the most important thing of all.
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