In the mourning

Rachel and her husband Jason

On Tuesday my friend Rachel died. She was in hospice for 10 days. One day she was telling me her chemo wasn’t working, and literally 3 weeks later she died. It is heart breaking for her friends and family. Rachel had a small 1.5 cm. lump 2 years ago. She was supposed to be fine. But cancer is very tricky and scary stuff. Four months ago they found spots on her liver and the chemo regimen did nothing to stop the progression of her disease. Rachel was 37, beautiful, smart,funny,and kind. Her funeral was so sad. Very appropriate given the circumstances. I could not help thinking about what I would want at my funeral, and I definitely would want it to be a more joyous event. If that is even possible.

Rachel’s death is particularly painful for me because she was chemo buddy. Just like Kristine, who is now done treatment, Rachel and I were on the same chemo schedule and I got to see her every week and commiserate about our sucky symptoms…hair loss and nausea. It’s not that I can’t do that with my friends, its just comforting to do it with another survivor/endurer. It is also very obvious to me again that with this disease you just do not know from day to day what might happen next. You can not get too confident or too arrogant. Cancer seems to rear its ugly head whenever it damn well pleases. Me I am just thankful for each day. Tamara told me I was enlightened. I hope she meant it. I do really feel enlightened at least in this way. I feel very appreciative of every single day that I am here.

The car ride home with Kelly was a strange mix of conversations designed to distract us and those in which we talked about my funeral. This is inevitable. Even though I feel very positive and am encouraged by my current treatment…it seems like there is still a reason to discuss it. I sincerely hope that that is a long way in the future. I pray that the Lord has a plan for me that includes being here for many years to raise my children. But for a few minutes today Kelly and I talked about my death and how badly we would want my funeral to celebrate my life. No mourning for me.

Today was also a joyous day as well. I spent a lot of time with my husband. I felt compelled to ask him how he is doing and to listen to his honest answers. We talked and ate and shopped for good food and spent time with our children. This is living.Bring it on.

12 Responses to “In the mourning”

  1. debi says:

    I have been having a sad day today, this as always made my problems seem so trivial. You always make me put things in perspective. Like don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff. Most things I whine about are really just crap. Awful as your cancer is it seems like you can see things in a truer light. I have the utmost respect for you and your family. We are all learning alot from you. I have health issues though not like yours. I have also given thought to my funeral. I feel the same way. Lets have a party. No crying and horrible organ music, no awful flower arrangements. Rock and roll music and a pot luck. All special days are celebrated with tons of food in our family. I am worried that I will not have all my kids favorite recipes written down for them. I find myself telling them where all my special kitchen utensils came from. Some are over 100 yrs old and were my great grandmas. My mother has been gone for 25 yrs and not even one day passes without me thinking of something I want to ask her. I can’t talk to anyone about this. Just reading you everyday helps me and so it must be with many others. As I have said many times, you mean something so special to me. Thank you for letting us all be here. I will be praying for the family of your sweet friend Rachel. love to you, debi

  2. joshua says:

    yeah. bring it on, indeed.

  3. Keith Souder says:

    Hey Andrea ,sorry to hear about Racheal.I know how close you both were from reading your blog.Listen it is somewhat imperative that you get ahold of me.Saturday march 29 @North Star:Trained Attack Dogs,Deadspot,Man is Doomed{feat membes of Throttle and She-Males] and special guests.I am talking to Joey Throttle about donating proceeds to the charity of your choice.So Holla back. Keep your fists up and keep swinging ,all my love Keith

  4. Linda says:

    I am the gal from Palm Harbor FL. I just told my Sis in NY about your website and what an inspiration you are to me. God Bless you, I continue to pray for you. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your friend who recently passed. You are a warrier, I commend you. I pray for you. You are teaching so many others about cancer and about life. God bless you, and keep up the fight. Linda

  5. Imstell says:

    I am sorry you have lost your friend. I am sorry this awful disease has claimed another woman, wife, mother. Yet I am happy for Rachel that she has moved beyond this.

    It is important to spend that time talking about our ends with our families. So many rebel at the thought. Like if we don’t talk about it it won’t happen. If only.

    Asking. Tuning in. Really listening. Living. Bring it on. Right on.

  6. leah says:

    i’m sorry about rachel

  7. jenni bender says:

    im sorry to hear about rachel, im sorry that it’s a hard thing to go through, loss that is. knowing that we move on to a much better place i know is a comfort, but i know it hurts.

    i love you my dear. i learn so much from you that literally helps me on a daily basis with my father. for that andrea, i will never be able to thank you enough. for your wonderful friendship and your spirit, again i will never be able to thank you enough. but what i will do… is i will continue to love you and pray for you. that is part of my life. im with you. bring it on. xo

  8. the other naomi says:

    hey babe,
    i’m so sorry. i just grabbed a minute this morning to check the blog before going out the door. i’ll be cell phone accessable for some of the time, and i’ll call when i get home after 12:00. if you don’t wanna’ talk, i’ll just leave a message.
    i love you whole bunches and bunches.

  9. maire brandon says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend Rachel…it is true, cancer does whatever the hell it wants where ever the hell it wants…it’s cruel and indiscriminate!
    My good friend Sandi has finally been given the go ahead to undergo her removal surgery on Monday, after being diagnosed in August and going through the extensive chemo (as you know) every 3 weeks, trying to knock it back enough to cut it out with minimal good tissue loss. She’s elated and terrified, but she also, as you do, has other cancer to worry about but first things first, get the IBC out of the body! A prayer for her would be greatly appreciated.
    Also, I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all of your pics. You, your family, your friends, your ups and downs….I loved them all. You are a very beautiful woman, dimples, compassionate loving eyes, great smile…you’re at ease, and ultimately that shines through. Thanks for sharing yourself!
    maire brandon

  10. Andrea,
    I found your blog after a fellow LC posted it on the Wisconsin LC site so we all know to be aware of this disease. My prayers and thoughts are with you. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago today, had mastectomy, chemo, etc, and seem to be doing fine, but after reading your info and reevaluating the redness in my other breast that I was told was from the lymphedema, I’m going to ask for a biopsy. My husband and I journaled our journey on our website, which you are free to visit or share the info with others.

  11. Wendy says:

    I am so sorry about Rachel. Love you.


  12. Cynthia Shelly says:

    hi andrea,
    you don’t know me, i am larue miller’s cousin and a b.c. “survivor”, in quotes because i believe we are ALL survivors 🙂
    anyway, i purposely waited until today, saturday, to check in with your blog since it seemed to make you feel down that not too many people check in on the weekend.
    i am sorry about your friend rachel. one’s passing can be most difficult for the rest of us still here.
    keep up the great work, in both your treatment battles and your inspiring and entertaining blog.
    cindy shelly