Facing A Probable Loss

I thought after recovering from my surgery I would regain interest in blogging again. Such does not seem to be the case. I guess such a low energy level has a lot to do with it.. There’s not enough energy to power my brain to get it going. My PCP has referred me to a hemotologist for my anemia.

I received some devastating news yesterday afternoon. I have had a friend since fourth grade who two years ago was diagnosed with colon cancer. She’s been undergoing chemo since then following very extensive abdominal surgery and seemed to be winning the battle…far longer than many other colon cancer survivors.

Since we live almost a half continent away going north south, we’ve only touched base with each other a few times a year, but I always know she is there. I tried calling her about six weeks ago and she didn’t return my call. I got caught up in my own medical problems and didn’t pursue trying to contact her again. I’ve been thinking about her for the past couple of weeks and couldn’t shake the desire to talk with her so I called her again yesterday. Again she didn’t answer her cell phone or land line. I left messages on both.

She returned my call yesterday afternoon. We talked in general for a while and then she told me about the inoperable abdominal tumor that was located behind her bladder. Her body isn’t strong enough to withstand another major surgery. The news hit me like a run away train. It was a struggle to keep the tears out of my voice. As usual, she was the one who did most of the talking. I seem to have a gift of having people in my life who carry on mostly monologues when we talk together. That was fortunate yesterday, however, because I didn’t want her to hear the tears in my voice.

She said she was going to give up and let nature take its course, but her family convinced her to try a trial medication that she was offered. She said she gave in and will participate in the trial but if the side effects are too horrendous, she will stop.

She runs the show. She has always run the show. I think that is one of the reasons I have tried to be her friend for more than half a century. She speaks her mind and doesn’t put up with any s^&t from anybody. She champions those who can not or will not speak up for themselves or are in need of help. I have never been able to do that myself. She has been there for me far more times than anyone else in my life. She has always been there as a friend for innumerable people.When I asked her if anyone was helping her, she listed about seven friends besides her family who are checking in on her and keeping track of  her on an almost daily basis.

When I had my heart valve replaced six years ago, we talked a week or so before the surgery. She didn’t skip a beat. She said she would come down and stay with me for a week after I got out. I don’t have the friend and relative support that she so richly has. She used her vacation time without a second thought. She didn’t even wait to be asked. She just assumed I needed her.

When my first fiance broke our engagement less than three months before the wedding, she was living in DC at that time. Since I finished college nine weeks early and didn’t start my first teaching job for five months, she immediately invited me to come out to DC to live with her. Her apartment was within driving distance of Quantico. That enabled me to spend a couple more months on the weekends with my Marine love before he shipped out to Viet Nam in June. He originally told me in my “Dear Jane” letter he sent me that he didn’t want to take the chance of leaving me a war widow at such a young age. Those extra weekends were a gift my friend gave to me that I could never repay.

Our friendship has been off and on all this time as we went our separate ways. I married and moved to Texas. She married less than two years later and lived in Chicago. She was going to be a bridesmaid for my first wedding but by the time both of us married we had drifted apart. Neither of us asked each other to be in the wedding party. I invited her to my wedding. She came but felt miserable. She came through the reception line and told me she had to go back home. She had a horrible cold. There was no time to talk with her. I went to her wedding but my son was only a month old at the time. I had to leave between the wedding and the dinner to feed him. My ex and I went to the dinner but didn’t stay long.

Then we moved to Texas. I lost track of her for years. Out of the blue she sent me a Christmas card one year and from the way she signed it, I knew she was divorced. I called her and we started communicating again.

That’s the way it’s been all our lives. She’s up north, I’m down here. We ended our conversation this time talking about the African safari we promised we’d go on together next year. “Gotta go see the elephants” were the last words of our hour-long talk. She has loved elephants our whole lives. Please pray that the medicine trial gives us enough time to make that trip. It’s just another year. I am hoping that the grieving I’m experiencing now is premature. Namaste. Attic Annie


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