Friday, February 25, 2011

The things that suck about life...

Last June while vacationing in Florida I was awaken one morning by a phone call from one of my very dearest friends. It wasn't the sort of news that one wants to hear while on vacation, or at any other time as a matter of fact.

My friend told me that while being treated for pneumonia and not getting better, that they had discovered by x-ray that she had a large tumor in her lung which in fact had collapsed her lung. Once a full body scan was done, it was also learned that the cancer had spread to her liver, pelvis, left butt cheek and right femur. Within a few days we had a plan and the party started.

Radiation and chemo began and we were all on 'Team Tammy' and even ordered blue plastic wristbands for support. The radiation worked on the tumor in her lung and it virtually disappeared, which was wonderful news and we were all ready to celebrate. Unfortunately the next scan showed that the tumor in her liver had grown along with the cancer in her femur.

But that was okay, we were on a team and ready to fight the battle! After a dangerous radiation treatment on the liver and radiation on her femur and continued chemo, we knew we had this thing licked. But that was not to be the case, the radiation did work on tumor liver and it started to die from the inside out but two more had appeared as well as one in her kidney. Then the radiation on her femur caused the bone to become so fragile that it virtually disintegrated above her knee.

But that was okay, she could use a wheelchair while we fought the new tumors, we were still in the fight. Never once giving up hope or faith that we were going to beat this devil. She continued her treatments, became weaker and frail, losing her hair and then it started growing back. She started gaining her strength back and once again it was time for the scan and we were ready to celebrate yet again.

Sadly, before the scan could be run about a month ago she developed a massive headache, a pain so unbearable she had to be rushed to the hospital. A cat scan showed that she now had two brain tumors, brain swelling and a blot clot on her brain.

But that was okay, we were ready for the next game plan. So she started radiation on her brain, started taking steroids to reduce the swelling and coumadin to clear the clot. We were back in action and fighting the fight! She finished her radiation treatments last Friday and her steroid treatment on Saturday.

Tueday she called me and asked me to come have lunch with her on Wednesday. She asked me to bring lunch from 'our' restaurant, the one we have shared meals to discuss good times, bad times and sad times. She didn't sound as peppy as she had before but I wanted to believe she wanted to share the good news with me in person, even though in my heart and in my head I knew that wasn't true.

So I took her lunch from our favorite restaurant and went to spend the afternoon with my best friend. Sunday she began having symptoms of brain swelling again, she lost control of her motor skills, she couldn't speak and was not comprehending. They rushed her to the ER and the catscan showed that yes the brain was swelling again and the tumors had not shrunk but grown. She wanted to tell me in person that we might not win the fight. They started her back on steroids and the symptoms went away and she has lost her hair again.

She is lucky enough to have been accepted at MD Anderson in Houston and she leaves Monday for a two week testing period. She has not given up hope, but she is tired and she is in pain and told me that she did not know how much more she had to give. This may very well be our last chance, our last hope. I will be traveling to Houston with her on Tuesday and will be able to stay with her for two days to hold her hand. I wish I could go for the whole two weeks. I've not given up hope, but my faith is wavering and I feel helpless.

I do know that not many people are lucky enough to have a friend like my friend. I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world to not only have known her for 25 years but to have had her as my best friend that entire time. We speak every day and we have yet to end a conversation without telling each other that we love each other. Not many friends do that and if they do they don't mean it like we mean it. I feel blessed to have walked through more than half of my life with her and I hope to keep on walking with her.

Tammy, I love you!


Tracie said...

I'm very sorry your friend is having to go through this. Why does so much have to hit one person. She is lucky to have you for a friend.

Dory said...

Oh Kat.... you're so right, it DOES suck sometimes. I'm so sorry you are both going through all this - it must be so hard for you to watch your friend and feel so helpless. I can not imagine. You'll be in my prayers.

Gully Girl said...

What an amazing story. It's so great that she's had that strength and positive thinking for this entire time. I know that's not the case with many people, including my own father. He was discouraged from the beginning and while he went through the treatments, he didn't actually think he was going to make it.

I will be praying for your strength and the strength of your friend as she continues treatment.