Don't Stop Believing

She was strong, inspirational and ready to present her artistic abilities in being the next best pastry chef. She constantly found reasons to surround herself with the love and comfort of friends – dessert parties, Grey’s Anatomy discussion groups, lunch socials or intimate get-together dinners. She was always full of life. Anyone who knows her can tell you her laughter was her signature sound…especially when she began her journey to battle cancer. When detected, she was diagnosed with stage IV uterine cancer and already metasticized to other organs. Together with her husband, they agreed to face this crusade with everything they had – exhaust every possible clinical trial, FDA approved drugs and surgery. Blogging her journey was just one example she illustrated her fighting stance as it signaled supporters to come forward with uplifting words or stay back and acknowledge her personal space to recover from surgery or chemotherapy. Little did she know her story uplifted her readers – friends, family and even strangers. For five months she fought this ugly cancer with all her valor – but with all her powerfulness she lost her fight. Her husband’s world fell apart when he lost his wife. His soul mate.

The words “cancer” and “grief” go hand in hand. We all cope in our own way, and the same can be said for how someone faces grief. The important thing to remember is to grant yourself permission to grieve in a way that feels right for you. And for my dear friend’s husband, his first step was changing his status on Facebook to ‘widow.’ This first step was his permission to manage his emotions and grieve.

He accepted my advice to seek professional help. For almost a year, therapy sessions embodied questions of ‘why’ along with an endless roller coaster of emotions. He once reported, “I can almost empty out a Kleenex box in each session.” He lingered in the fourth stage (depression) of his grieving process and was unsure if my friend adjusted to the changes in his life. In his state of confusion, he lost all hope, but was desperately trying to find something to believe in…then something beautiful happened. My friend was given something to believe in about life – in 2010 the SF Giants won the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies. Then continued their winning streak and triumphed the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

We sometimes take for granted the little things in life. And for my friend, his smile and laughter came back to life because of the San Francisco Giants. And today, the SF Giants triumph again.

* If you, or know of someone battling cancer, please visit these sites for support. *

-Cancer Support Community

-Bay Area Young Survivors

-Palo Alto Medical Foundation, support groups

(Picture taken by T. Hipol)


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