Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PYHO-I Effin' HATE Cancer.

Today I'm linking up with Shell over at Things I Can't Say to Pour My Heart Out.

Some of you may have read an earlier PYHO I wrote a few weeks ago, about a pain I had in my underarm and the emotional journey I undertook to find out if it was cancerous or not. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Luckily, blessedly for me, my journey had a happy ending, and was not cancer.

Recently a friend of mine had a similar situation- pain in her underarm- and it has not turned out quite as happy for her. Yet.

My dear, dear friend A has breast cancer. When she first told me the news, it felt like all of the air was sucked out of my lungs, sucked out of the entire room I was sitting in.

Lots of people think they are friends with the sweetest person, the person who'd do anything for you, who makes you feel as if you are the most special person in the world. But unless they are friends with A, they don't know what the sweetest person in the world is truly like.

The words I would use to describe A would be: gentle, kind, soft hearted, hilarious, generous, creative (truly creative- when I switched from teaching 5th to 3rd grade, she took my former 5th grade teaching job- and has out-taught, out-planned, and out-created me at every turn. I don't say that in a bitter way- because I realize and accept I'm not even close to being in her league as a teacher. The proof in that pudding? The woman was Reading Teacher of the Year AND Teacher of the Year at our school- in.the.same.year. She rules, and her fifth graders are pretty much obsessed with her. 'Nuff said.)

One of the ways that A and I have grown close is in our respective journeys to conceive babies. A's journey started before mine, but there were many chats, emails, coffee talks, and tears shed together as we tried to achieve our dreams of having babies. I still remember the day she told me she was pregnant- how as soon as she told me, she asked me if I was okay, with love and sincerity in her eyes. She was genuinely worried about telling me because she didn't want me to be discouraged that I wasn't yet pregnant. The woman is pure love.

As it turned out, her amazing twin girls are just 3 months older than the Munchkin, and we have been blessed to experience pregnancy, child birth, and the raising of little ones together. A absolutely adores her girls, as evidenced by her family blog and her FB posts about the adventures and joys of raising them. We all know mommies have rough spots with their little ones- every day, in every situation. Never once have I seen or heard her complain about a rough day with her girls. Not.once. (I myself am guilty of unloading stress on FB about Munchkin's napping habits, fussiness, etc.) And no, she's not one of those Super Mommy Wannabe's, whose sole purpose is to make everyone think she has it all together and that togetherness makes all other struggling feel bad about themselves. My BS radar is honed by years of teaching pubescent children, and A is the real deal. She has rough days like all mommies, but the way I see it, complaining, especially about two gifts for which she is so grateful, just isn't her thing.

And now, I'm pissed. A may not be a complainer, but I'm a world class bitcher. If she won't do it, I'll do it for her. Cancer sucks big ol' hairy monkey balls. Sorry for the imagery, but it's true. Her prognosis and her attitude are positive and promising. But there will still be chemo. There will still be nausea, exhaustion, hospital visits, vomiting, and worry. After all she's been through, working to become a mommy, kicking butt as an outstanding teacher, achieving a dream of starting her own photography business, and finding her groove with all the roles she plays- this happens. Whatever happened to a woman getting a break?! All of those side effects of this situation translate into one thing: that it'll be time spent away from doing the things she loves most, that she does best. I'm pissed off that she is having to endure the nausea and exhaustion that will make it hard for her to play with her girls, or to take her amazing photos. I'm irate that this gift of a human being will spend one second of her life worrying about her health and her future. I've mentally throat punched this cancer, followed by a round house kick, then Bruce Lee'd its ass all over the place for her.

A has the exact right attitude- grateful that she caught it early, with a self-examination, grateful for the wonderful care she is getting and for her support system, determined to remain positive and focused on all of her blessings, refusing to give into worry or fear. I have no doubt that she will come out the other side of this battle triumphant. I hope that as things progress, she will take up my offer to help out in any way that I can. Until then, my mental throat punching of this cancer will continue, taking form as prayer, encouragement, and support for A. If you'd like to follow her journey, and read some AMAZING writing, you can find her blog here.


  1. Cancer SUCKS! Sending prayers for A.

  2. I'm going to mentally throat punch cancer for her too! Prayers for you and your friend.

  3. She sounds amazing. I'm glad she has you to yell it out for her. I'm sure she wants to.