Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heavy Heart

Guys I just need to vent a little tonight. I'm sorry that this has nothing to do with bands or diets.

In 2007 one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Colon Cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs. She fought the hardest longest fight for 4 years and last year on March 7th she lost her battle.

She was so beautiful, hilarious and positive. Through her fight she made it her mission to raise awareness and became a colon cancer activist.

As a friend, she always made you feel like a million bucks. Towards the beginning, she had a major 12 hour surgery removing most of her liver, tons of lymph nodes and parts of her colon. Flowers came pouring in for her and a day later, she was walking around the hospital hand delivering flower arrangements to other patients to brighten their day. She said she couldn't take them back to the hotel so  she wanted to share them with everyone. 

I'll never forget the time when we were in college, before all of this cancer mess. Erica came rushing up to me a school and gave me the sweetest compliments. I remember walking away and thinking about how good she always made everyone feel. I promised myself that I would give more heartfelt compliments and spread more love because after all, people only remember two things. When you make them feel great and when you make them feel like shit.

Even though we were in different states we always texted and gabbed on Facebook. Towards the end I wanted so badly to say the right things, to be positive, and to give her hope. I prayed for God to give me the right words. One night while I was laying in bed we were texting.  I'll never forget it because it was the last time we ever got to talk. She told me that she was having one more procedure and if it didn't work she was screwed. She told me she wasn't ready to die.

What do you say to the strongest person you have ever met in your life when she has run out of hope and knows that its over? That conversation haunts me to this day. I tried to stay positive but I was out of words.

Shortly after that, her health declined rapidly. She couldn't respond to messages and her 2 best friends had to take over the communication to all of us.  I miss the hell out of her.

The hardest part of this all is that there have been 3 other women in my life under the age of 40 who have died from or are still fighting colon cancer.

Today another friend sent me a message. She's 29 and was diagnosed with colon cancer about a month ago. She has had her colon removed and this morning she told me she was going to find out today whether they got all of the cancer or if she would have chemo.

Tonight she replied back and she let me know that she in fact will have 6 months of chemo and then more surgery to put her intestines back together.  I tried to respond to her and all of those wounds ripped back open. Where are the words? What can I say? I want to be positive and heart felt and sensitive to what she's going through. I responded but my heart hurts just thinking about what she's going to have to go through in the next 6 months. Please send prayers her way.

I don't really have a way to wrap this up so I'll just leave you with a quote that warms my heart and embodies everything that Erica was.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou


  1. oh Donna - my heart breaks to read those heavy words. I too understand not having the right words. It never feels like what we say is the right thing. All I can say is keep her memory and spirit alive. She sounds like she was an extra ordinary woman who exuded love. It's a damn shame that the good ones get sick and pass. Makes me always question life.

    See - I don't have the right words either for you. But know I am thinking of you missing and hurting. :(

  2. First off - it's your blog and you can post about whatever you want!

    Second, I am so sorry to hear about your friends. I lost my grandma to color cancer and I know how hard it is. It unbearable to watch the people we love struggle to fight this horrible disease! I'm so sorry. Hopefully the chemo will get any of the cancer they weren't able to get. I'll be praying.

    Third - I LOVE that quote!

  3. I will join you my friend in prayer and lifting up your friend as she travels her journey. Thank God she has a friend like you to bring her support, prayer, an ear to just listen and a blog to share with people all over to join you in lifting and strengthening her...

    Erica sounds like she was a tremendous wonderful that her life lives on through you and the lessons you learned from her on get to pass all of that on too!!!

  4. Oh Donna, I'm so sorry to hear about these wonderful friends you've lost and the one who is at the beginning of a very hard road. I worked for a year as an oncology nurse, and the biggest lesson I took from that experience was to tell people that you love them and tell them how they've changed your life. Surround them with love, as you have done, and then take that love and honor it in your own life - as you have done so beautifully.

    Sending love and light to you and your friends.

  5. I'm so sorry. I'm sending healing prayers..for you and your friend.