There were 3 of us. The 3 amigos, bonded by cancer and travel soccer. As our daughters ran up and down the sidelines we updated each other on our latest medical updates. Christine, an 18-year survivor with four kids was tough as nails. Her cancer kept creeping back and the doctors were pessimistic, but each time she sought out clinical trials and beat the odds. I remember the beautiful eulogy her husband gave at her funeral, which came before the soccer season ended. She was told she would never be able to have children. She was determined to prove the doctors wrong. She was given the diagnosis of “less than 5 years” multiple times and lived almost 2 decades after her diagnosis.
Carisa’s funeral was less than a year later. My sweet friend who was a ray of sunshine and such a great Mom. I did not go to her funeral. I knew she would understand, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do much of anything but lay around wallowing in self-pity and think why not me instead. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be the only one to get a second chance. I began to fear what if I never do anything worthwhile with this gift I have been given. I was surrounded by amazing women, cancer survivors, who were making such a difference in the world and I could barely get out of bed.
I just reached my 3 year anniversary of being cancer free. When I am sweating the small stuff and screaming at my kids for fighting I think of my friends Christine and Carissa. I sometimes forget that it is a blessing to be able to be here with them. I am trying to not be so hard on myself these days and realizing that maybe I can still make a difference. One step at a time, I am still becoming a person that Christine and Carisa would be proud to call their friend.