As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
Facebook links my soul sister and me together. Sometimes, it's good news, but sometimes it's bad.
Bipolar disorder and cancer — not a nice mix. Those are the two illnesses a friend of mine had. Her name was May. She lived in the neighborhood for as long as I could remember, but about five years ago, she moved away.
When I met her, I had bipolar illness, but I hadn't been diagnosed with cancer yet. I used to think, "Bipolar and cancer…what bum luck." I never dreamed that in a few years I'd be in the same situation, her situation, with both bipolar illness and breast cancer.
Never say never.
We're still Facebook friends. She just posted that the mass on her pancreas is growing. She'd been cancer-free for a time, and now it might be back.
When we were together people thought we were sisters; one person said we had the same look in our eyes. We'd seen many of the same things, a lot of pain, suffering and much intense joy.
In many ways, May is my soul sister.
I offer her my prayers and my condolences over the internet, but that hardly seems like enough. If I could, I'd go visit her, but there's no way I could do that. My teaching job is starting up again soon. I have a teenager to take care of. I have my life to take care of.
May's predicament makes me feel so fragile; if cancer can metastasize in her, it can in me. I will never say never again.
May and I used to belong to a group of girls who would go to dinner at a Thai restaurant. We'd eat Thai noodles and talk and laugh. This was during her cancer remission and before I had cancer. We were carefree then.
May now has four beautiful grandchildren — three boys and a girl. She is the perfect grandmother, I'm sure, buying them outfits and dressing them up for group pictures in little hats and scarves. She posts the pictures on Facebook.
Without Facebook, I would have probably not known of May's current cancer predicament. I don't see the girls much anymore. Since May moved away, we don't do dinner like we used to. Word of mouth would have been the only way to learn of the growing mass on May's pancreas.
I'm glad we have this thing called Facebook. It keeps soul sisters (and brothers) together. But it also spreads sadness and bad news. It's a mixed bag.
Well, if I can't go visit her, the next best thing is to call her on the telephone. I don't have her new phone number, but I can Facebook message her and get it.
I need to talk to May. We've shared so much in common, I feel that I might be able to do some good. At least, she'd know that there's still a caring old friend out there who thinks of her often and who wishes her well.
I'm off to find May's current phone number and call her. I've got to express my love and prayers for her, tell her that she can beat this like she beat everything else. Never say never.
May is and always will be my soul sister. We're joined through mutual life experiences of illness and, hopefully, recovery.