You Never Get Immune to Losing Friends to Lung Cancer
Last updated: January 2023
As a nearly 10-year lung cancer survivor, I've lost so many friends that I would have never even met had I not gotten sick. Each of them has left an imprint in my life that I cherish forever with memories.
Friends kept passing away
At times, I've felt I was almost getting immune to people in my life passing away. It wasn't fair. I didn't understand why everyone kept dying, and I kept surviving. To this day, I still don't understand, other than it's a part of God's plan. He's not done with me yet.
I'm not sure what I need to keep doing, but it must be for a bigger purpose than I can imagine. I do know He has blessed me more than I deserve. So many other young women were given the same diagnosis. They were taken from their children too soon.
I'm not here because of luck
Many people think I'm lucky. But, when you have a strong bond with someone, and they go on, you're left picking up the pieces of dealing with your disease in addition to the loss of a friend. They beat cancer - because when they passed away before us, they killed their cancer. I like to believe they are at peace, waiting for the rest of us to join them.
In a previous post, I talked about "Senior Night" for Karley's volleyball and how proud and blessed I was. It's amazing how tears of pride and joy can turn into tears of pain and sorrow in an instant.
My friend Miranda
Miranda and I both went to the same high school. She's the only person I know who went there and was also diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. We didn't know each other well. We were friends on Facebook, and she would follow my stories and blogs.
Miranda joins the worst club
I have quite a few friends from high school with cancer, so we are together in a group chat for support. There are about 7 of us within 2 years of my graduating class. Miranda was the most recent to join our group chat, and I instantly began messaging her personally. We leaned on each other for support.
I was not excited to hear that her world was turned upside down. But it was like a breath of fresh air to feel less alone. Unfortunately, like everything lung cancer touches, it got her.
We were friends, and I remember messaging at the beginning of September. I was complaining about gaining 30 lbs. She was complaining about losing so much weight. I told her that I found the weight she lost. We made silly jokes like that, and always said, "love you." This is someone who went to my school. She knows all of the same people I do. She also had two little ones about Karley's age when I was initially diagnosed.
Our last words
This is the last entry she wrote to me: "Hey love! I think and pray for you often. This s**** is so hard. Whew...I have to sleep on towels, so I don't have to change my sheets every day. You're gaining weight, and I'm trying to gain weight. I can't keep weight on. It sucks. But I know it sucks for you on the other side, too, with everything else going on. You are so strong to deal with this for so long".
After replying, I began to focus on my daughter Karley and volleyball. It is her senior year; what a blessing God has given me to be here. I wanted to make the most of it. That's what I tell myself, and it's true. Just like Karley, I am a very compassionate person. Still, I didn't know that Miranda's end was so near.
The night Miranda passed away, I cried tears of bittersweet joy because of Karley's senior night. I wanted to post pictures but another post stopped me in my tracks. It was on the feed of a member of our cancer chat group.
Miranda was gone. While I was celebrating, Miranda's family and friends were mourning. I suddenly felt that guilt again. I love her so much, and the shock of it all made me drop my phone and begin to ugly cry.
Other parents sitting around me were trying to comfort me, thinking I was crying about Karley's senior night. I was, initially - but those were happy tears. Now, I was absolutely devastated. Her hospice care coordinator reached out to me and told me they barely got her in before she was gone. She was a fighter.
You never get immune
So, as I felt with Kelly Shannon, Kelly Kayuk, and Stephanie Kohn, I was just as hurt when Miranda passed away. The worst thing about this cancer is losing close friends. It's so traumatic, and you often feel super alone. In a nutshell, you never get used to it. You never get immune. But, It's not in my nature to turn my back on anyone. So, my heart will keep hurting until I go to the Pasta Party myself.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?