Note to a friend

I had lunch with an old friend just a few days after finding the lump. She’d found a lump herself years ago, and received her diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer on December 15. She was a mother and grandmother, and Christmas was an important time of the year for her family, so she kept the diagnosis to herself for an entire month. I marvelled at her reserve, her determination, her selflessness in preserving a full, traditional Christmas for her family. Now it was four years later. FOUR YEARS! From Stage IV. She was my hero (and was already someone I looked up to for many other reasons before she got sick). We are kindred spirits. We had planned this lunch a month earlier, so getting together had nothing to do with health matters.
Our lunch was great, and long. I barely ate, choosing instead to talk and listen. We closed down the restaurant, and she had to race to her next appointment. We decided that my lumps were likely nothing.
I wrote to her in December:
I have been going out of my mind. Those lumps under my right arm are adenocarcinoma, and I’ve had biopsies and body CT, full body bone scan, bilateral MRI, but no primary site has shown up yet. The MRI report hasn’t come yet, so that might have it, and my uterus on the CT scan was large, and there might be something with the thickening of wall in my intestines, but that’s about it. I see my oncologist on Tuesday, and then start chemo on Wednesday. Tessa is writing exams at U of Ottawa until the 18th, same day as first chemo, so I haven’t been able to tell anyone at home.
I thought of you and your Christmas diagnosis! But I can’t keep it secret after the first chemo, so will be telling everyone on the 19th.
Oncologist told me I will be fully bald by January 7th, so I should go wig shopping immediately. It’s all happening too fast.
Think good thoughts for me.

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