Love is….. having a friend like Erin.
When I was hiding my diagnosis in my blog I must have posted it on Facebook momentarily. Long enough for Erin to see it before I realized what I had done. She texted me immediately. “You have cancer?!?”
She then jumped into full on mentor mode. She had breast cancer about six years ago. I met her at the end of it. If the ‘end of it’ is truly a thing. (it isn’t)
Erin coached me. She informed me about treatments, and surgeries. When I decided on doing chemotherapy she brought over a box of her hats, scarves, and lymphodema sleeves. The box also contained Aveeno Baby lavender-scented lotion (I still use this at night) a bag of salty chips to counter the metallic taste from chemo and a few face masks.
She cleared her schedule to be there for my first chemo treatment. It was long and even though you go through the education class and do your own research you are still frightened. She came and sat with me and Keith. She visited with me and kept me distracted. Her being there gave Keith a chance to go and get some lunch and check in with work. It made the hours seem much shorter.
We volunteer at the same improv theatre and she covered my duties for me for over a year. Making sure I wasn’t over doing anything. Knowing what surgery and chemo do your body, strength and energy.
Many a time in years past I would babble on about how strong I think she is. She would just have this look on her face of, okay. I didn’t get it. Now that I have gone through cancer and treatments I have people tell me how strong I am. I give them a look of , okay. Truth is Erin said it perfect to me once. “It is time to pull your big girl pants up and just do this” I get that. I am not strong, I just did what I had to do to fight. I wanted to fight for a few more years. That is not strength, that is pulling up your big girl pants and just doing it.
I can never thank Erin enough. She was level-headed, energetic and giving. She followed my blog so she could get updates. She would text me when she would read something that resonated with her fight. She shared her concerns and knowledge of first hand experience. She gave me ideas of questions to ask. She knew what I needed when I didn’t.
I have been to many functions and events with Erin, yet I do not have one picture of her. The picture I choose to use today is one of the ring I wear all the time. It is a ring that Erin gave me. It is the same ring that her sister had given her when she was diagnosed. I wear the ring with pride. I wear it to remind me to be strong. Especially to remind me to pull up my big girl pants and move on.
Love is having a friend like Erin…