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May 23, 2002

That Which Does Not Kill You...

My friend has cancer.

As I write this, I am seated next to her. Between us is a hanging rack of various drugs, all dripping into her body through a PICC line.

During the second of three drugs administered via IV push, she sucked on a Popsicle. The cold is supposed to keep her mouth from developing sores.

Her wig is on crooked, but it's kind of cute that way. She has the cutest wig of everyone in the chemo facility: lovely blonde streaks through a dark brown mass of hair thicker than hers ever was. She was more stressed about losing her hair than she had been about losing her breasts, but she's into being bald now. She's whipped off her wig in public a few times now, and it's always in an inspired show of solidarity for someone else on this journey.

By her 35th birthday, she'll be through with this mess. That will be a huge celebration. But my friend celebrates every day. Even when she's tossing her cookies, she's laughing about it. Even when she can't see straight, she's joking about her hallucinations. She has faced death several times over and still finds joy in her life.

I had to give her an injection the other day. You go through so much with your friends and you never imagine that you will be inserting a needle into a tummy... but then the need is there and you do it. Period.

My friend has cancer - but in a few months, she will have a body in which no cancer cells can survive. And then, if she's lucky, she'll be clean for another ten years. Maybe.

There are no guarantees - but we all know that. So, with each mechanically-measured drip from the Omni-Flow 4000 Plus, another prayer goes forth: that my friend is not just surviving cancer, but kicking its ass.

Posted by bonnie at May 23, 2002 01:41 PM