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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cancer Is Awful... Scary....


I have always been afraid of cancer... Cancer has been the main killer in my family for decades.. My dad's mom whom I never had the privilege to meet died from breast cancer when dad was a young ten (10) year old boy... My mom's mom had a double mastectomy because of this horrid disease.. Several aunts, uncles, and cousins are now gone... breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and oral cancer.... My father had his tongue removed a few years before he passed away... Cancer is awful... scary.... and when my gynecologist advised me eight years ago that I had it - I was terrified... but not surprised....

I was lucky this time... The form of cancer I had was very rare but treatable if caught early enough.. Thankfully, it was caught in the very early stages and the infected area was surgically removed... The chance of the cancer coming back is 33% - so I have to be checked every six (6) months and that's okay... I do have a few complications that I can and will live with for the rest of my life. These things are easy to accept because I am here - I am here for my husband.. my kids.. my family..

A few years ago I met a woman named Shelly while I was waiting in the oncologist office for my six month check up... We noticed that we were reading the exact book- Hiding in the Shadows by Kay Hooper... My favorite author and as it turned out Shelly's too... We exchanged emails and phone numbers and a new friendship was born...

Shelly was 41 years old when we met and she had been fighting cancer her entire life... When she was five (5) - she was diagnosed with Leukemia.. She fought and won that battle... When she was sixteen (16) she had a cancerous growth on her femur - her leg was removed when she was seventeen (17).. She married her long time sweetheart when she was twenty-four (24) and became pregnant almost right away - the doctors believed this to be a miracle.. her daughter was born healthy and beautiful.. Shelly discovered a lump in her left breast while taking a shower shortly after her 40th birthday.. When I met her - she had just finished her latest round of chemotherapy....

I was so amazed by Shelly - her incredible outlook on life... her optimistic spirit.. She told me she could be sad and feel sorry for herself but she chose to live... I love that... She chose to live... I think we all can learn so much from that simple statement.... I have learned so much in the short three years of our friendship....

Today - I received an email from Shelly's husband... it was a mass mailer to all Shelly's email friends and co-workers... The email was to let Shelly's friends know that Shelly died Friday night from a massive heart attack brought on by her lifetime of radiation and chemotherapy.. Her heart became weak and she just could not fight any longer....

Cancer is an awful disease.... I do not want to lose any more people I love... Good-bye Shelly - I am so lucky to have met you... So lucky to have known you.. You are beautiful... You are amazing. You will be missed...

10 comments:

  1. wow, I am so sorry for your loses. She sure went through a lot.

    I am scared of getting ovarian cancer, it killed my aunt and grandmother

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  2. I'm so sorry for this loss to you and the others who loved Shelly. I've got a lot of cancer in my family too, and you're right about it being a terrible disease.

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  3. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. My dad died of lung cancer. He chose not to go the chemo route. He was 86 when he died.

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  4. I too live in fear of cancer. My mother died from cancer along with 6 of her siblings. Prayers for your friend and you at this time.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. She was truly a brave, strong and loving woman.

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think we must all know and love someone who's lost a battle to cancer. It's so sad.

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. I too have lost many relatives and great friends to cancer.

    Here's a hug for you and a prayer for your friend.

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  8. I am so terribly, terribly sorry, Kelly.

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  9. Words can't express how sorry I am.

    Cancer is horrible...the worst four letter word of all, I say.

    Thoughts & Prayers to Shelly's family and friends.

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