Friday 13th

I’m not usually one to have an issue with Friday 13th. Despite my new open minded approach to spirituality and the like, for me superstition is still just that – superstition – and therefore not of any significance. But the Friday 13th that we have just had really was a bad day. Nothing to do with the date – just a really bad day.

In my last post I explained how I was feeling out of sorts in the morning. With hindsight I wonder whether that feeling was a harbinger of what was to come. The middle of the day was pleasant, catching up with a couple of old friends, doing some work and generally feeling a bit better. But come the afternoon everything was tipped upside down again, by two horrid pieces of news.

First came the dreadful dreadful news that one of the girls on my online community had passed away that morning, at the tender age of 30. Claire was one of those at the heart of our Younger Breast Cancer Network. Diagnosed a mere 10 months ago, like so many of us she had documented her treatment and issues through the medium of the group. She was a real force of nature, supporting so many others during her own hard times and fighting hard to get the right treatment for herself. Some of my friends have blogged eloquently on Claire and her talents and you can read them here:

Claire also reached out to me at the time of my secondary diagnosis and we exchanged messages about treatment, fears and practicalities. She was a warm, strong and intelligent girl, a real personality. Her death was devastating – not only was she so young and so vibrant, not only did it happen so quickly, not only did it all seem so unfair – but – but… me, she had triple negative breast cancer. Like me, her first round of chemo didn’t work properly. Like me, she was put onto platinum chemo with gemcitabine. And then she died.

My extreme sadness at her death wasn’t linked to any fear about my own situation. I was heartbroken for her and her loved ones and for the life she might have lived. But I have had to work hard since to stop myself from drawing the parallels. To stop myself from being too scared that I might be next. To stop myself from visualising my last blog post similar to Claire’s last post. We are all individuals in the face of this disease – I know this – and this is what I must focus on. It’s just quite hard.

And as if that weren’t enough, later in the day came the news that a very dear friend of mine has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. It hits so hard when it is a friend, someone whose own path is interwoven with mine in a way previously completely unrelated to Genghis. We have shared many, many things but this is one thing I would happily not share with anyone. She is in good hands, with a top surgeon and the support of an amazing husband, family and friends. But it hit hard. She is in the early stages of her journey, trying to figure it all out, trying to adjust, trying to understand. I am weeping on the inside for her, remembering those dreadful days. I feel sick to the stomach that she has to go through this. If I could, I would take it from her and bear her cancer alongside mine, so that she could carry on with her life. Mine is already burdened by this and taking on her disease wouldn’t change that for me. I don’t want her to have the burden. I don’t want anyone to have it. I hate it.

Friday 13th ended, thankfully, and the next day was a new day. I left the house for the first time in a few days, cleared my head, carried on living. But that day happened. It left a mark.


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