My dear friend Jen Lippman has breast cancer.
Jen has breast cancer.
Jen has cancer.
And I can’t sleep, because I am thinking about her. I have a nightmare that I have cancer. A nightmare that disturbs me during waking hours. And then, as snowball-effect scenarios often play out, other assorted worries pile on. Life gets tough.
So I call my friend to comfort her… to check in and see if maybe I can make her feel better, because, after all, she is the one with cancer. She needs me.
"Jen” I said…
I can’t wait to hear her voice on the other end, (this is always the case), but in an unexpected way, she is more vibrant these days, and our conversations are different… and her voice is more reassuring than ever.
“P! What’s up?”
I was going to ask Jen for an update. How has she been dealing with the side effects of chemo? How is her daughter handling all of this? I was going to offer her some encouraging words (or just asking her if she needs anything, or how her week has been). But instead, my own anxiety and fears spoke: How can I be strong, when I don’t want to be? How I care, but can’t do enough. How I am being tested, with greater adversity at the moment than I feel I can possibly bear. Too many decisions, too much responsibility, and the world feels all wrong…
What the hell am I doing, talking about my petty problems to my friend who is dealing with breast cancer? What kind of friend am I?
I think I said all of that out load, and was reminded that we all have problems. I learned over the next forty minutes that I had already overcome so much in my life (she was there) and how my current troubles are so small in comparison. That things will be as they should be and I can handle it even if it isn’t the way I thought it should be. We barely spoke about her cancer. Instead, she encouraged me.
And on the other end of the line, I was grateful, saved, and inspired. I have so much love in my heart for my friend. She makes dealing with her cancer so much easier on all of us who love her (there are many), by loving us back more.
Thank you Jen. You are one incredible friend. I can’t wait to celebrate your recovery.
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