In 2005 my best friend Amy was diagnosed with colon cancer. A year ago today they cut a big hole in her abdomen, took out most of her colon and sewed her up. She doesn't have cancer anymore.
Last Sunday I was suffering from a bit of blogger’s-block and Amy suggested I write a post about how awesome she is – I doubt this is what she had in mind.
Amy told me about her cancer on the day of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and I honestly thought she was kidding. Who gets colon cancer at 27? (Girls with very unfriendly genes.) She spent the summer and fall in chemo and radiation. Last September while visiting my parents, two of my mother's friends (both nurses) told me that they were really sorry to hear about Amy and that it was horrible for anyone to have such a grim diagnosis at such a young age. Even though Amy was really sick I hadn't considered the possibility that she wouldn't get better until they both looked at me like my friend was dying. When I got home from this trip she was the sickest I'd seen her, she wasn't able to keep food down and had gotten terribly thin and I was suddenly very afraid of losing her.
While Amy was sick we joked around a lot about her cancer (“Oh no Amy can’t pick up her crap because she has cancer – and she’s lazy.”). I know Amy didn’t want to turn into Cancer Girl (able to stop bullets with her mighty tumor!) who everyone was nice to simply because she was sick (I imagine she would have less issue with the transformation if it came with super powers). As much as I believe that humor is often the best way to deal with the challenges life chooses to carpet bomb us with I worry that I used humor to avoid talking about my feelings. I often feel like expressing my feelings is a burden on other people and Amy certainly didn’t need any extra burdens. So I don't think I ever told her how scared I was.
Suddenly last winter my life seemed charmed, Amy got better, things were going great at work, I was mooney over a boy. I felt like God had given me a reward for that awful summer and fall. I think Amy has had a charmed year as well – she certainly deserves it more than me. She and Joe had the best wedding ever (they should start a business called “Planning a Kick Ass Shindig”), they honeymooned in Italy (thanks for the earrings!) and are once again house shopping (they’re like real adults). Tonight they’re having an Amy is Cancer Free Party. Amy – you are awesome, I’m glad you’re not dead.