August 22, 2016
I cannot believe I have to tell this part of our story, but it has to be told because it is amazing and unbelievable at the same time.
We spent our first week in Houston living in a very comfortable, furnished apartment compliments of two of our closest friends. They had it to offer because they rented it for a few months and weren’t using it this past week. Why would someone who lives in north Texas rent an apartment in Houston? When you have to spend weeks at a time at MD Anderson, thats what you do. And my girlfriend will be spending weeks at MD Anderson. She was also diagnosed with cancer this summer. She is also starting treatment this week. Today actually. Right now. While I am typing this.
She is one of my favorite people. I love this girl. She’s awesome. Our husbands are like brothers. Our daughters have been friends for years. We’ve traveled with this couple. He took his daughter and Olivia on her first college visit because we couldn’t go. We DO LIFE with this couple. We love them.
Dear Lord have mercy. My friend. And then my husband. Two of the healthiest people I know, both with cancers that they “shouldn’t” have. Hers is a rare non-smoker’s lung tumor. His is a rare form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma generally found in men older than 60. If you’re shaking your head and saying “not fair” or “WTH” don’t bother. It doesn’t help.
When she called me on June 22nd and told me, I sat on the floor and cried. I thought about her precious young children, her adoring husband and the sound of her voice as she spoke to me through her tears. I tried to remember every detail she gave me. I wanted to be a good friend, attentive, knowledgable, helpful, supportive. The kind of friend I knew she would be for me if, God forbid, the tables had been turned.
Cue the irony.
We didn’t even want to call and tell them when we found out about Patrick. We put it off. We felt guilty. Like traitors. How could we put this on them when they had their own hell to deal with? We are the worst kind of copycats.
It will come as no surprise, if you’ve ever met these two, that they JUMPED to attention, to action, to work on our behalf. They gave freely of their time, advice and resources. “We’re six weeks ahead of you and we can help you get through this. These next few weeks are the worst ones. It gets better. We have some ideas for you. We have a place for you to stay. WE KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.”
And now we are in this together. Two very separate and distinct journeys, but alike in many ways. Connected, leaning on each other and holding each other up. And when we beat this stupid disease, we will celebrate together and we will have a story and testimony to tell.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15: 12-13