Last July I wrote this very happy post about two very dear friends I met on the Colon Club forum, Pat & Jed, because Jed had just got the all-clear on his latest PET scan (as had I) and Pat was continuing to do well living in NEDville (NED = no evidence of disease). The three of us have had many parallel experiences, though both Pat and Jed have undergone much longer and harder chemo stints than me, and have also had more difficult operations. Frankly, as my doctors have said they see no possibility of curing me, I reckon I’m just being given “chemo as required” as long as the tumours stay away.
After my last PET scan in January I got in touch with Jed (Pat and I see each other on twitter) to see how he was faring. And he told me the bad news… a recurrence in both lungs and lymph nodes. Prognosis: inoperable and on “chemo for life”, however long that turns out to be. My initial reaction was to go completely into denial – this couldn’t be happening to my Wonder Twin! And as I was in the throws of packing and moving house I wrote a quick email that was all bluster and bravado (sorry Jed) saying I’d be back soon. And every day since then I’ve wondered what I could say, how I could help, and kept saying to myself “I’ll write tomorrow!”
Then last night I got a quick message from Pat. Her cancer was back. Sounding almost exactly like Jed’s – lungs, lymph nodes and possibly bone mets – and I fell apart. I could no longer do the denial thing and cried for a solid hour, just like I’m crying now. I sent them both messages asking how I could help, meanwhile I couldn’t remember ever feeling so helpless in my life. But I really really want to be able to do something.
It’s just that, you know, this is all so damned unfair!! Pat and Jed have done everything right, they got on healthy diets, and did everything they could to help their luck along. Meanwhile I’ve not changed things all that much diet-wise, continue to drink too much wine and am still very overweight. WTF? No, I’m not saying that I deserve to get a recurrence and they don’t (though to be honest, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop) … it’s more that none of it makes sense. And I am left angry and hurt and scared … and then ashamed that I end up thinking about me. But it’s not only about me, because I think I know how Pat and Jed are feeling right now. None of us are into false hope and patent “positive thinking” crap. And so when Jed tells me “I know you well enough to know that you will not think I’m morbid or ‘giving up’ or any such nonsense”, well, he’s right. But then when he says “now you’ve GOT to hold the line! Twin powers always activated” I burst into tears and want rail against the goddamn stupid bad luck that brought us all to this place. Even though it’s the same goddamn luck that brought us all together. It does give one pause.
Guys, you’re probably reading this. Thanks for the email today Jed, and I hope you can send me some more info about how you’re doing soon Pat. I’m sorry for getting so emotional, because I know that doesn’t help. But I love you both so much and, just like it says up there, your existence gives me hope. And it always will.