This week was one of those where I felt like the sky is falling. First chemo on Friday took all day 9 to 5! I had three drugs to infuse and they could not infuse them at the same time, so it was 1 hour for the first one, the observe for 30 min, infused the second one for 30 min, then finally infuse the last one for 1 hour and observe for 20, but that doesn't include all the wait times. I had to wait for a chair, wait for the doctor, wait for the drugs to be mixed and delivered. Then God bless Saturday, it was like the calm before the storm- I felt great and we went shopping in the Amana Colonies, bought some little gifts, had lunch and saw a car show- it was a beautiful sunny day. Then Sunday rolls around and the side effects kick in, tired, diarrhea, nausea (though no vomiting), plus the pain in my joints and foot all seam to come alive when I do nothing but sleep all day.
I was worried that I was going to be too sick to deliver a much needed meal to a dear friend, but when I texted her, if she still needed the meal I was met with a response many hours later from her husband saying she passed away. Abbey was my inspiration. She had endured so much, neuroblastoma as a child, then sarcoma as an adult, she had her leg amputated and had whole brain radiation as well as multiple radiation treatments to her spine and on top of it she had a large brain met removed. She also had tumors in her lungs and on her heart, she was a true survivor and yet she found the beauty in life and rarely complained about herself. After learning of my stage IV diagnosis, she actually cried and she comforted me. I couldn't help but love this person who had so much to give even though it seamed she had so little herself. She taught me alot about perspective and quality of life, she never gave up hope that she'd recover and live out her days with her husband. And yes she married while she was in treatment and was devoted to savoring life as much as she could. She and her husband traveled the world, too many places to count- she lived an amazing life, albeit far too short. I will miss her chats dearly, but I will forever treasure the wisdom she imparted to me.
Because not everyone has an Abbey in their lives I want to share just a bit of her (and my) wisdom here. She and I shared a strong faith which allowed us to ask difficult questions and talk about the reality of our situations. She and I do not feel that God is punishing us, we got sick out of bad luck. We both only want our families and friends to savor life and be happy. We both hope our husbands find peace and love again. Neither of us believe that we will go to hell, and we both firmly believe in heaven where there will be no hurt or sadness, therefore it is my wish (and I believe her's too) to not waste time on earth fighting. Abbey always acted as though somehow the struggles in our lives prepare us for a life in heaven, although we could not understand what that would be. Life on Earth is meant to be enjoyed (regardless of your situation) and I want to give all my survivors permission to enjoy life to its full extent after I pass away myself.