Way back when, when I was in college, I met a girl who turned out to be one of my best friends. We stayed in touch for years, I was in her wedding, she came to mine. But, as often happens, we emailed a bit, called once or twice, and eventually I stopped hearing from her.
No big crisis. No falling out. Just life.
Well, this past Christmas I didn't send her a Christmas card. I'd sent one every year and for the past 3 or 4, didn't get one back. (So, I'm a slow learner!) I did put a note in her mom's card, though, asking/hoping she was okay and asking Mom to forward my email address to her.
Lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from her, with just a sentence or two to catch me up on all I'd missed.
Then today, a missive, all about how the boys are 15 and 13 and taller than her (OMG!), how her husband is doing well and luckily for her, able to be home to help her out when she needs it. He's helping out, too, with the boys, getting them where they need to go, when they need to go, getting them up in the morning and out to the bus stop by 6:05am...
All of this struck a chord with me. Why is she making such a point of him doing his fatherly/husbandly duties? Shouldn't it be like that anyway? Then I remembered previous letters, saying how he was in this band and in this orchestra, and teaching this class and that course...
Then the paragraph that took my breath away.
She has breast cancer. She was diagnosed last August. THAT'S why her mom didn't include an update about K and her family in her Christmas card, as I'd asked.
She started chemo, finished January 1st. She started radiation today. She was able to work throughout the chemo and is planning to continue working through the radiation. Then she'll start hormone therapy.
"Other than being overweight and bald," apparently she's "fine." The prognosis is good. [THANK.YOU.GOD.]
I walk every year in the Susan B. Koman Cancer Walk. Thankfully, I've been lucky enough not to know anyone with breast cancer. My husband's grandmother died of it many, many years ago, when he was a young boy.
Now it's personal.
Now it's K.
I will be walking for her. For her as somone with breast cancer. For her as a survivor. And I ask you all, each and every one of you, if you can, if you would, PLEASE PRAY FOR MY FRIEND, K. And if you can help support the fight against breast cancer, please do. For me. For K. For our daughters and sisters and mothers and aunts and grandmothers and neighbors and babysitters and dogwalkers and cashiers and bank tellers - for all those women who do not deserve to suffer from this horrible, horrible disease.
We need to do whatever it takes to eradicate it (along with other cancers and diseases, of course). But now, this fight is personal.