The world is a little darker today. A little sadder. Today I learned of the passing of one of my sisters in breast cancer, a dear colleague and friend.
When I was going through treatment for breast cancer in 2012, she was receiving treatment for a recurrence. We were just weeks apart in our treatment, although it was clearly more difficult for her the second time around. Yet when she returned to work, my sister was her energetic, positive self, and was ready to take on the world.
We often talked to each other about our post-treatment care. Naturalists, supplements, stress management, nutrition, sleep. We talked about all of it, while admiring each others’ locks as our hair grew in. We debated the issue of aromatase inhibitors for months on end and both decided to take a pass after dealing with unbearable side effects. Each meeting was full of hugs, support, and encouraging words.
Stress management was always a big topic because she attributed her two cancer diagnoses to preceding periods of high stress. We checked in on each other regularly and lectured one another when we seemed to be taking on too much.
Fast forward almost 3 years since we finished treatment. Life became more “normal”, our regular interactions became less common, and the quarterly meetings on our calendars got bumped for some other “priority”. I hadn’t spoken to her in months, never thinking I’d never have another chance to do so.
While I do not know the details of her death, based on some of the sketchy tidbits thus far, I have no doubt that cancer played a part. This time Cancer would not take no for an answer, and he was swift in taking her from us.
So many people called and messaged, or came to visit me today, to make sure I was ok. One call came from another of my sisters…one who most recently made the journey through diagnosis and initial treatment. She asked me if it ever gets easier as time goes on… Do you ever stop living in fear?
I told her that I try to find the balance between being complacent as time goes on and being scared all the time. I don’t want to be so complacent that I forget to take care of myself. I don’t want to take any day for granted. But I also don’t want to be so afraid that I forget to live and enjoy my life. I wish I could say I have that balanced nailed down, but I don’t. And days like today tend to tip me into fear. If it could happen to her, after doing so many of the same things I have been doing, then who’s to say it can’t happen to me?
So let this be our reminder. To manage our stress and walk away from the drama. To nourish our bodies with healthy food. To get enough sleep. To avoid toxins. To drink lots of pure water. To care for ourselves. To find time for those we love.
But mostly let it be a reminder to live life to the fullest, to spread joy to those around you, and to love greatly. You never know when you’ll lose the chance to do that.
Rest in Peace, my friend.
IMDb: Sisterhood (2015)