Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I met my friend, Lynn, about 10 years ago. We were in the same church congregation. She and I share a birthday, and I think that was actually the reason we first talked to each other. I immediately liked her, and we discovered we shared other things in common, like our hometowns were about 20 miles apart. Even though she was about 16 years younger, we became fast friends.
She was diagnosed about 14 months ago with the exact same kind of breast cancer I had, yet hers metasticized to her brain and spine. She was only 32 when diagnosed.
I thought I was young when diagnosed; my first diagnosis was when I was 37. I lived to celebrate birthdays 38, 39, 40, etc., until 47, when I was diagnosed with my second "onset." Still, I lived to see my 48th birthday, and I will likely see 49 and many more. *fingers crossed* *knock on wood* etc. etc.
Lynn won't get to celebrate her 33rd birthday (at least not on earth). She died this past Sunday. Easter Sunday. The irony.
I've heard people describe a deceased person as having been "full of life" and "vivacious." Man oh man, that was definitely Lynn. I always thought of her as a rebel, but not in a bad way (generally and religiously speaking, rebellion is bad). In my mind, I called her the Reverent Rebel. I may have told her that at some point this past year. I hope so.
I've been feeling survivor's guilt all week.
I once heard a speaker at church say that guilt is useless unless it gets us to act. So as I try to figure out what I can/should do, I've found something you can do. 'Cause that's how I roll.
Even though you probably do not know her (I'm having a hard time thinking of her in the past tense), you likely know someone who has, had, or will have cancer. Here's something that you can do that may improve their chances of celebrating more birthdays.
Consider enrolling in the American Cancer Society's research study about cancer prevention. Just consider it.
If you've never been diagnosed with cancer (except skin), you are eligible. They are trying to enroll 300,000 subjects but are about 120,000 short. It is a nationwide study, so it doesn't matter where you are.
If you are in Columbus OH, here is the link: ColumbusCPS3.org
If you are anywhere else, here is the link for more information: http://www.cancer.org/research/researchprogramsfunding/epidemiology-cancerpreventionstudies/cancerpreventionstudy-3/index
Please just think about doing it.
But not for me.
Think about the one person you love most in this world and consider doing it for that person.
Just in case.
For more birthdays.
Birthdays come with cake. Win win!