Some friends meet in unexpected ways. They come into your life during times when you least expect them.
Some friends meet in unexpected ways. They come into your life during times when you least expect them. With wise words from Helen Stener Rice, "When you ask God for a gift, Be thankful if He sends, Not diamonds, pearls, or riches, but the love of a real true friend." In the midst of cancer, there is often no greater gift than friendship.
Without stage 4 colon cancer, and more specifically SIR-Spheres microspheres, Megan Hodges and I would have never met. I live in the United States and she lives in Australia. Though there are similarities in our lives it is unlikely that our paths would have ever crossed had we both not experienced a diagnosis of colon cancer. When I started YES in late 2006, Megan was one of the first survivors I met who had also been treated with SIR-Spheres. At that time, we happily celebrated a year of living after our treatments with radioembolization for our tumors that had spread to the liver. I can remember how fortunate I felt! It was a year of borrowed time that I never expected to experience. To meet someone else who was thriving and surviving - indeed priceless!
Megan became very involved with the YES list-serv, mentored other stage 4 peers, shared her story, and answered many emails. We talked a great deal through emails in the beginning and then later through Facebook. She inspired me. She inspired others. We encouraged each other. In 2010 we met for the first time in person at The Liver Symposium in Dallas. We again celebrated. This time we had both reached our five-year marks. She had no evidence of disease and I, too, was holding my own.
Our friendship has grown stronger over the years and in 2013, Ronnie and I were able to meet up with Meegs and her husband Peter again. This time in Australia. We shared another celebration of friendship despite cancer. For me, it was the marking of the biggest item from my bucket list.
In February of this year, Meegs and her husband Peter traveled to the States for a month long vacation. Their trip started on the red carpet during the Oscars. It was here that we celebrated another magical milestone together…..our 10 year anniversaries with SIR-Spheres microspheres! We spent time with other friends that we have met because of cancer, walked on the beach, wrote HOPE in the sand, and shared the gift of living fully in spite of cancer.
In these past ten years we each have celebrated many unexpected milestones: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, graduations for my daughters, engagements for her daughters, the addition of a new daughter for me, weddings for her daughters, the dawn of adulthood for my girls, two new grandbabies for Meegs. For lives to touch during the uncertainty of cancer, for a friendship to form, and for magical moments to be shared is truly incredible.
Here’s to a decade of little magic beads and the miraculous gift of friendship!