Friends, I am writing this post with a big, fat lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
Lisa Lynch passed away a few days ago and I am quite sure the entire breast cancer community shares my devastation. Which is, of course, nothing compared to those who knew Lisa personally. I know that for sure.
I’ve referenced Lisa on this blog before, but in a veiled tangential kind of a way. Yep, Lisa was my girl who I had such hopes for. The one who got breast cancer aged 28. The one I was looking to for guidance and reassurance, as I was trying to come to terms with being the girl with cancer. And when I read that she had incurable secondaries, I freaked out. Honestly, I’ve been in a semi media black-out ever since. However, as the months have passed, I’ve slowly opened my eyes, and my mind, to the possibility of incurable cancer.
Another incredible blogger, Scorchy, has helped me on my way with this. Scorchy, I should’ve told you months ago how much your blog has helped me. I always felt a bit shy to say so, because so far I’m one of the “lucky 80%” and I know you struggle with how the focus is on those with curable breast cancer and not the 20% who really deserve it. I didn’t feel quite worthy. And in truth, I’m also just shy. I’m a blurker. Sad but true.
And yet in a funny kind of a way, we’re in a very similar place right now. We had our initial diagnosis within a month or two of each other. We’re both back at work, and relishing the normality of it all. We’re both so, so grateful that our issues with pain are under control. We’re even on the same drug, Tamoxifen. Fun times. Scorchy never ceases to amaze and delight me with her honesty, her sarcasm and her seemingly unswayable determination. She is also a brilliant writer. She wrote a beautiful post about Lisa a few hours before mine, which I have no intention of trying to equal.
Lisa is… was… three years older than me. I can’t help but see that this could be my story. People say to me “It’s over now, right?” and I can’t even begin to articulate to them how far from the truth that is. Lisa was in my exact position after her initial treatment finished.
How is it that some people wind up as good statistics, and others as bad ones?
Don’t tell me it’s fate, or luck, or God, or science, or whatever. It just is, and it bloody sucks.
So what can you do? What can I do?
Draw strength from amazing women like Scorchy and Lisa. It sounds vampire-like, drawing strength from women with incurable breast cancer. But I do. You women are fricking incredible.
You help me believe that no matter what happens from here, you can stay strong and bright and honest and keep on loving life.
These are big concepts to come to terms with. I still can’t claim that I understand or accept the concept of death, at any point in time. But I understand the concept of living. I understand it so much more, post cancer. I’m not sure I would have reached this level of understanding any other way.
Lisa, I salute you, wherever you are.
All my love to all the brave, beautiful women out there. This one’s for you.
And the rainbow too.