I once heard that one out of three people get cancer.
I only knew three things about her before we actually met and became friends. One, she is/used to be a ho. Two, she did her eyemakeup really nice. And three, she was a cancer survivor. All three proved to be true, but the third tidbit overshadowed the first two. To me, she was an inspiration. And everytime I shamefully judged her bad decisions, I would remember her lying in a hospital bed, bald from chemo, but still looking beautiful as ever. Then, I would check myself. Everytime I thought life was hard, I imagined her smiling and cooking for a room full of people, and immediately reminded myself that it could always be harder.
If there was one word to describe her, it would without a doubt be: selfless. Sometimes I forget she has cancer. She’s always putting everyone else before herself. She could be on her last breath while I could have a paper cut, and she’d probably get me a band-aid before she ever mentioned needing oxygen. She is not what I imagine someone with a 30% chance of living to look like. Alas she’s not just “someone.” I don’t know how she does it, and I’m forbidden to find out, because I’m not allowed to WebMD anything. She knows I’m a hypochondriac, and would diagnose her with five other things; two of which I’d probably make up on my own.
I got a text from her today. She was supposed to meet us after her doctors appointment, but never did. Shortly after putting away the groceries I updated my phone with the new IOS5 software, and it rebooted to a message saying, “It’s all bad. I have cancer and it spread.”
“I find out tomorrow. All I know is it’s bad and I don’t know how long I have.”
OK Wait. What?
“My parents and brother are flying in in a few days.”
That’s when I realized it was real, and just about the same time the tears began to pour down my cheeks. But we just went hiking? But we just had gelato? But we’re supposed to go to Bikram tomorrow? But we never went on a trip together yet? But I’m supposed to sing at your wedding? But you’re supposed to be a bridesmaid in mine? All the places we have yet to see. All the plans we have yet to make. All the dreams we have yet to turn into reality.
I once heard that one out of three people get cancer. So what happens when you know three? I’m scared. I’m not supposed to admit it, but I am. For her, her, and even her. Because cancer is FUCKED UP. You can be healthy, pray everyday, and never have smoked a cigarette in your life to have it all be irrelevant at the end. Cancer isn’t Santa Claus. It doesn’t make a list or pick and choose. It doesn’t play fair. And no one is exempt.
Who’s to say I won’t get it one day? I hate to make it about me, but it isn’t all about you. Or you. Or even you. And it shouldn’t ever have to be. It’s about all of us. Because we are all in this together. Fighting alongside you. Sharing every tear, every cloud of doubt, and every glimmer of hope. Wishing that there was some way we could take even just a little bit of the burden from your shoulders.
I can’t wait for the day there is no four.