Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Big C

The Big C. Not the tv show, unfortunately. Real life Big C- Cancer. I'm sure we all know someone touched by it. I'm fairly certain that much of my extended family has succumbed to different forms of it. Friends parents, a neighborhood kid, a friend of a friend.

I always donate money when it's a child in the area. I'll spread the word. B and I even got swabbed to be bone marrow donors when a local child who took the same music class as E did a marrow drive. But this time, it was just different. I can't even explain it. Maybe because I'm place in life. Who knows. It just was also a huge shock.

It's not easy to make mom-friends. Especially when you're a "one and done-r" in a town where three and four kids is the "norm". Either they already have their close friends from when their older child was the newborn, or they have younger ones and they just don't have the time. Or, like with regular "couple dating", you like the mom but not the husband, you like the mom but the kids don't play nice together, or you just don't feel like you fit in with anyone...Then we met Jocelyn and Eric.

E would always come home talking about S- J&E's son. They were always together when I'd pick E up because they stayed late together since we all work. We started hanging out with them a little more because like us, while I don't know if they're "done", at least for now, they only have one. We're all pretty "on the go" and spontaneous, because we can be at this point. The boys are three and a half, they're active, and we need to find things to do that will entertain them and they live close to us. One day we went to Hoboken, had a little impromptu picnic by the water, then took the boys to the West Village so they could see what going on the PATH was like. It was one of the best days ever. It was the day B and I were like- Oh thank god we click with them! It was so much fun- the boys had an awesome time and B & I were just really excited to have new friends to hang with. This was in the late spring so we were looking forward to a summer of hanging out, relaxing over BBQ and letting the boys play. Not that I don't love hanging with just B and E, but it's nice to have a friend for him and adult conversation for us, without having to get a sitter and not really doing anything complicated.

J and I are both the same age- 38. We joked that we don't feel old but we both have back pain, it's so annoying. I was saying how if stick around to talk to other moms in the school parking lot after drop off or pick up, I'm paying for it later just from standing for fifteen minutes. J said she totally understood because she has been excruciating back pain. We were able to commiserate about our collective pains.

There was the D.A.R.E carnival and she said she was too tired to go so we didn't see them. I thought it was odd to be so tired you don't want to go to a carnival but whatever. She was tired. About two weeks later there was a carnival in town and I expected they'd want to go. I didn't hear from them and I thought maybe they weren't that into us- Hey, I can't explain it but it's happened before! We think we're fun and cool but we talk a lot. We're not everyone's cup of tea. B asked what happened to them and I said- who knows- maybe they just don't want to hang out. Then I got the email.

At first I thought it was a joke- a bad one. It started off like one of those hacked email things. Where it's a fake email from the person saying they're hurt or stuck in another country and need money. I wasn't even going to read it - I was going to text J and say she got hacked. For some reason I kept reading. And I was stunned. J was in excruciating pain and E took her to the hospital. Long story short- she was diagnosed with cancer. Tumors in the brain, breast, back and liver. I'm not even sure what the rest of the email said except for ONE thing. Positivity. But I was floored. I just never had cancer hit me so hard. When it was my aunt- my mom's sister, I was sad, but I was fourteen years old and didn't really get it. I was a teenager consumed with my own stuff. It just didn't feel real. This felt too real because I could be her- she could be any of the moms from E's class. We both have three year old boys. We have plans. We have shit to do. We're the same age and this isn't supposed to happen. I mean, who thinks back pain and ends up with cancer? It sounds insane. It just threw me. I felt helpless because they are new-ish friends, I love their kid, my kid loves their kid....but there's just nothing to do.

They only want positivity and know she's going to beat it. No sad looks, no sighing and the tilted head with the frown. I can do positivity. And I have a place to share her story where maybe some good can come out of it. J just recently made a Caring Bridge site for people to read and she said it was okay if I blasted it out. If I can't cure cancer then at least I can raise awareness of her, her story, her cancer and get her some positive energy and thoughts going her way. I'm not one for prayer- it's not my thing, but for people that are, it would be awesome if you could put her on your list.

She's a fighter man- she looks bad-ass right now too. She lost her hair but she's rocking all kinds of cool head-ware (?). Her arms look jacked. Nevermind cancer- she kind of looks like she can totally kick ass and take names. She looks...good. She certainly doesn't look like someone that has cancer. I've seen "sick" people. If she had her hair, she'd totally look like she's just healthy. I don't know what goes on behind closed doors but she's one of the bravest people I know. She comes to school stuff (drop off, pick up, orientation) after having chemo a day or two before and she's there with a smile. We make cancer jokes- she doesn't take anything too seriously. She's just inspiring. She's. Still. Her. The same person she was before. Just a little more tired. She watches a little more trash tv since she never used to be home during the day. AND THE TUMORS ARE SHRINKING. They are. The treatments seem to be doing their job and she's doing hers just keeping that smile on her face and going about her daily stuff. So this blog is for her- I'm giving the link to her site and whatever you want to do- read, pass on, donate, walk - whatever. It's all appreciated. Any positive energy you can spare would be great because she deserves it. I'm glad we've become friends and I bought her a bottle of really good champagne for when we hear those tumors are gone! 

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