Cancer - a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. I first wrote out it on November 13. They were new words in my vocabulary; put there as a result of my friend, Krystyna having recently received the diagnosis. We all knew it was bad. She wanted to believe that she could fight it and beat it. I didn't believe that, but I pretended, for Krys.
On Sunday, she experienced a seizure that took her to the hospital. She's been there ever since; initially in Intensive Care, just today moved to hospice. In spite of 30 days+ of chemo and radiation the tumors have grown and new ones have developed. There is swelling in her brain. Indeed, it might be more appropriate to say that there is chaos and confusion running rampant in her brain.
I don't often contemplate the miracle that is my body, especially my brain. I take for granted absolutely everything it does for me, beginning with telling my lungs to breathe and my heart to beat to warning me that a red light means stop and it's probably not effective to yell and swear at the TV when the defense comes gunning for Aaron Rogers Watching my friend's brain break down is an amazing and sobering lesson.
What is even more sobering is the realization that my friend, she'll be 66 tomorrow, has progressed from a vibrant, healthy woman to a shell of her former self in less than 90 days.
Oh, I don't have any regrets or unfinished business with Krys. I learned long ago to tell people how I felt about then and to attempt to meet anything that happens between us swiftly and efficiently. My dad died unexpectedly when I was 14. I never had a chance to say good-bye or any number of other things that I would have said if I had realized then that I would not get another chance. I've tried hard since then not to find myself in that situation again.
It's just that, well, Krys and I have been friends for over 30 years. And while I have lost parents, grandparents and older relatives, I've never lost a colleague, a peer, a friend of my own age. And short of losing my mom 3-1/2 years ago, I've never lost anyone so close to me. Heck, my bucket list is mixed up with her bucket list and now I'm wondering who I'll be sharing those experiences with. I always believed it would be her.
My very wise daughter, Kate posted this recently on Facebook. "Less than 3 months ago my Aunt Krys was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer and now it's looking like her time is coming quite soon. I keep thinking to myself, how can this be this real? How can a person be here one day and then so suddenly gone? But it is real. So hug your people. Tell them what a difference they've made in your life. Never miss an opportunity to say thank you and I love you. I'm glad that those words were my only Christmas gift to her this year because I know they meant more to her than anything I could have bought for her."
It bears repeating. "Hug your people. Tell them what a difference they've made in your life. Never miss an opportunity to say thank you and I love you." NEVER!