Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's been a tough month

This last month has been tough. My friend Steph C's death left me devastated because it was so unexpected. It really was. Normally I have an idea about when someone is getting really close to the end because of the things that happen to them; the decline is there if I want to see it (and I almost always would rather bury my head in the sand), so the end, even if it happens quickly, is something I'm kind of expecting. Knowing that it's coming means I can sort of be ready when it happens; I'll still grieve, but it's a different kind of grief.

With Steph there was no decline at all. She had developed new mets, just like before, and was going for the liver biopsy to find out whether or not her tumour had changed. Apparently during the biopsy, Steph's hepatic artery burst and she died. About 1 in 10-12000 die because of the liver biopsy and there's just no way to prepare for that when it happens to someone you know. The kind of grief I felt was different than usual because I had to process the suddenness of the event. I imagine people whose loved ones are killed in accidents feel a similar type of grief - and of course that kind of grief is there when someone dies by suicide.

Compounding my grief over Steph was what would have been my mom's 65th birthday a few days later. Big grief events always seem to remind me of my mom and dad... it's like I feel the grief for them all over again. The grief for my mom and dad come up during different anniversary days. Some are more significant than others: my mom's 65th birthday would have been a major event even though now I don't know how things would have changed.

On top of all that was Father's Day. It's been five years since my dad died and I still miss him. I didn't do much for my dad for the day but I'd call him and we'd chat for a bit and I miss that.

So all of that grief and sadness all combined together to take me out for the last month. It's just been so overwhelming. I ended up seeing my psychologist early, which helped because I could talk it all out.

I also went to Steph's memorial service/celebration of life in St. Louis this past weekend. Going to that really helped because I was able to have some closure around her death. Being around so many other people who loved her and lost her was cathartic for me. I cried the whole time, of course, but I knew it was going to happen and I brought lots of tissue with me.

I think I'm feeling better now, or at least not quite so sad and devastated. I think next month is going to be much better.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My friend is gone

My friend Stephanie C. died last night. I sent her a facebook message this morning, went over to the mets support board, and found out that she had died the night before. I'm shocked and so sad, and I know I'm not the only one.

She had posted just last week that scans showed some progression in her liver with a bunch of new tumours. They were biopsying the tumours to see if they had the same markers and she would have had the results at the end of this week. And then somehow, something went wrong and she died. It was sudden and unexpected, even though she was facing progression in her liver, because she was posting and had contacted people as late as Sunday. No one yet knows what happened.

Steph was a wonderful, caring, compassionate woman and I already miss her terribly. She was my co-admin on our support board and I loved working with her. She was funny and talkative and always welcomed people with a kind word. She was just so nice and such a centered person. She was so open and loving and saw the best in people. I admired her and strive to emulate her because she was such a good person - one of the best I know.

She leaves behind her family, her husband, her kitties, and many, many people - including me - who loved her so very much. She will be dearly missed and it will take a long time to deal with my grief. Rest in peace, Steph. I love you.

Updated to add that my friend was featured in this news article. The Kadcyla she mentions is the last chemo she ever received; it didn't give her the results she had hoped it would, and her liver mets grew while she was on it. Oh, I miss her so much.