My best friend in 6th grade was named Jenn. We were inseparable. Our families hung out quite a bit, too. We went to school together all through grade and high school.
But we grew apart after she got cancer. I remember the lump on her neck, at the base of her collarbone-it was huge. It turned out to be Hodgkins. She must have been out of school for chemo and radiation for at least 6 months to the best of my memory.
She was treated, and treated well, at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and she came back with a wig, which was a tad disconcerting for the rest of us, but she was more bubbly than ever.
I imagine this outgoing-ness was because she came through-then we graduated 7th grade together. After that though, we started hanging out with different people.
She was different, but then again I can't imagine having cancer and that not changing your life. It is life and death, so it makes sense that it would be a life changer. We always got along after her Hodgkins, but were not so inseparable anymore.
Today my Mom read my latest high school newsletter that arrived at their house. You know the one-this class is having a reunion, that couple had a baby, here's a form for you to give the school money, and the In Memorium section.
Seems Jenn died in November, surrounded by her brother (two years our junior), parents, and her husband.
Being the super sleuth that I am I found an entry she had made on a fellow cancer bloggers page, where she thanked them for being inspiring, noted she herself was a Hodgkins survivor and a stage 4 BC patient-and that she was awaiting scans from her doctor and was really nervous.
She asked for luck. While she had a myriad of friends, she lacked in luck. Having cancer twice. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy-seems no one should have to wear that badge, let alone twice.
This time she couldn't eeck out the win. I had no idea she was sick again. But more importantly, her obituary said she fought hard, right up to the end. She knew her foe, all too well, knew the odds were REALLY stacked against her a second time, but she never gave up.
Once we are thin maybe we will feel a false sense of security, maybe we will lapse into old habits, maybe we will fight the good fight. Maybe in 5, 10, 20 years we will get fat again. I know as well as anyone that yo-yo weight is my forte, though not a proud notch on my belt. But I will fight the good fight until I take my last breath...
Because I know what fat can do to my heart, I know how a stroke could make me a vegetable, I know being fat can expose me to a myriad of other opportunistic killers-like cancer. So until that breath is my last, I will fight my issues, knowing the odds are against me because I have already proven an addict, susceptible and plain old weak.
In the meantime, I will eat well, move my booty, and get a goddamn mammogram already.