Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do Unto Others: Part One

This is going to be a long one so pull up a chair, grab a cup of whatever and buckle up.  I've divided this into two parts and will put the other up tomorrow.  It's not the usual post, so I appreciate your reading along.

It was mid-morning on Monday when I finally decided to haul it up off the couch and go outside.  Opening the backdoor I shuffled to the left and let my back slide down the wall until my bottom landed on the wooden deck.  Sun on my face, eyes closed, I sat there trying to let the warmth burn away knots in my stomach left from Friday.  In the yard next door I could faintly hear my two elderly neighbors having a skiff.  Nothing abnormal, just the effects of having been together for 38 years.  As the door closed and she came outside I opened my eyes to see her look up and gesture to me.  Squinting closer, I could see her making a C with her thumb and index finger.

I gave her the "What?" sign with my face.  She's hard of hearing so we speak in gestures a lot she and I.

Again she gave the C and then pointed at her chest.  "Oh sh*t," I thought to myself "this woman is trying to tell me she has breast cancer."  I motioned I would be right down as she started to cry.  Ducking inside I quickly threw a sweat jacket over my pajama uniform of electric blue tank and matching A&F sweats before darting down the stairs.  We met outside our back gates where she broke down telling me how she had ignored a nickel size lump in her breast until it became the size of a tennis ball.  And then she showed me the tennis ball and I cried with her:  two lunatics clinging to each other bawling by the trash cans.  That lump scared me.  It's big. When I hugged her I couldn't help but think of the cancer that was literally touching my own chest from the other side of her shirt.  Strange thought, but true.

I've known her for the seven years I've lived here. She and her husband traveled the world living in Bali and Hawaii for most of their married lives before he became ill forcing them to move back to the mainland.   When I met them he was wheelchair bound; she told me in secret it was hard to look after him.  Then one day a couple years ago he went in for a random check up and doctors realized he needed a valve replacement in his heart.  That operation changed his life, their lives, -- within months he was out of that wheelchair and back to healthy living.  It was really a miracle and something they were so excited about.  They live in a meager bungalow attached to 3 others next door.  They're in their 70's.   He enjoys an afternoon cigar and she a glass of wine.  And now this.

After we pulled it together she told me her operation was Tuesday (today) and they were removing the entire breast.  Maybe she'd get reconstruction, maybe not.  "What does one boob look like after you've had two you've loved your whole life," she asked?  I didn't know what to say.  "Can I come with you?" "No can you wait here?  I'll be back on Wednesday and might need you." "Can I pray for you?" "Yes -- please do -- and tell your friends, too."  She's observant aka a little nosy this woman, but in all the ways you would want your neighbor to be.  We parted ways so she could get back inside before her husband came looking for her.  I went back upstairs calling friends I knew I could trust to pray for her.  And then sat back on the couch in a state of shock.


If you are a praying person and feel so inclined, please pray for my friend Pat.
She is brave, but scared and would appreciate it so much.  
I'll keep you updated on her progress as I learn anything.  
She is still in hospital and I may not have any news for a couple of days.

I'll be back tomorrow to give you the second half of this story which involved me ripping her neighbors a new hole.  You won't want to miss that one.

And for everyone who has been emailing and sending notes about my weekend -- I want to thank you -- It means so very much.  Friday was a major suckfest of a day that leveled me personally and professionally despite my many years in this business.  The person who did that to me was not my friend, but certainly was a candidate/executive I've known for many years.  Live and learn I tell myself.  Always go with your gut or you end up with someone's foot stuck in it. Ugh

53 comments:

Katie said...

How terrifying :( Many thoughts and prayers to your neighbors and you, I hope you hear some positive news soon.

this free bird said...

Thank you Katie. Oy Oy Oy. Caught me completely off guard and I'm really concerned for her. Well, for both of them. xo

annelise said...

Awful. Cancer is a c-word. There just needs to be a cure found now. It affects simply too many people. I've got my fingers crossed. xx

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Funny you write this today when I'm dealing with my coworker who was just diaganosed with a cancer.. he's already disabled and is such a good soul. I've sat and listened to him cry for a long time... and it has been so sad and hard. I don't understand Cancer and it's just so ridiculous how prevalent it is everywhere you go. I'm definitely a believer in 'good thoughts' so I will be sending those yours and Pat's way...

and ps, I thought about you today at work and decided that though it hurt, you are lucky the candidate did this to you now instead of them accepting and being horrible. Still stings I know, but another silver lining...

this free bird said...

Thx Annelise and Caitlin - for reading and supporting Pat with your thoughts and crossed fingers. Hoping for the best outcome for her and her family. xoxo

ps Caitlin - you're so right about the candidate. it's a character trait that would have eventually shown up at work and i would not want that lack of character spread throughout an organization. she works in hr for pete's sake!!

Josie said...

Oh, my goodness, Carrie. My thoughts and prayers are absolutely with her, and do let me know if I can do anything else to help either of you.
xo Josie

Debby said...

Carrie, I will most definitely pray for Pat. You will be such comfort to her, you already have been a shoulder for her to cry on. How scary for her and so hard for you to see your friend suffer. Keep us updated. xo

17 Perth said...

Please know that your neighbor will be in my thoughts and prayers. As far as her physical state, I think one boob will be beautiful and brave. It will show her courage to do what needs to be done to continue living their lives passionately (as it sounds they have done in their lifetime).

I pray that the surgery went well yesterday and that she is now starting to recover both physically and emotionally.

style'n said...

Carrie-It's so scary and I hope Pat pulls through and fights this. She will need your support and prayers!

RosaLovesDC said...

Lady, I will be praying for your neighbor too. Hugs to you and your neighbor.

Fashion Meets Food said...

Wow that is completely terrifying. Breast cancer runs in my family so for a girl whom doesn't usually pray when I got older praying ever night I wouldn't get it became bedroom routine. She however will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers.

xo

Closet Fashionista said...

Oh my goodness that is so sad!!! My thoughts are with her and her husband and I hope everything goes okay!!! Cancer is such a scary thing....UGH! :(

Kate said...

So sorry, Carrie... thinking of you both! I'm sure it means so much to her that you are there waiting for her when she returns. Knowing there's someone to love & care for her when she needs it most will make a world of difference. xoxo.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Carrie, my thoughts and virtual hugs are with you and your neighbor. The C word is a terrible things, but people like you and the love and support you give make it more bearable.

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

Courtney Erin said...

Wow, this is so scary but she also seems so brave - words are kind of failing me now...

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Cara said...

My prayers are with your neighbor ( cancer has sticken my family so many times, and it is always hard to see people you care for suffer)
♥ Cara
Lilac and Grey

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

oh Carrie, sweet friend. I will be thinking of her and you today.

Lisa - respect the shoes said...

It is sad to think that it is moments like these that make us reflective about our own lives and our loved ones.

My prayers go out to Pat.

Daisy said...

Carrie, thank you so much for sharing this. Pat is in my prayers, my deepest prayers. This story hits close to home today. My coworker, who sits in the very cube next to me, the most hilarious 65 year old women you've ever met, just returned to work after her THIRD battle with breast cancer. She was out for surgery, chemo, the whole nine. She laughed about her breasts (or lack there of) with me this morning, telling me how she has no nipples! (Oh the humor she is able to find in this situation is so encouraging and uplifting.) Just thought I'd give you some hope, if my coworker can beat this think 3 times, Pat is certainly going to beat it now.

xo
Daisy

Megan said...

oh my goodness carrie! im glad you shared this with us, even though i know it has had such a profound impact on you recently :-/ I will definitely keep this in my thoughts and prayers :( Have a great day!

Dancing Branflake said...

Oh goodness. I will definitely pray for her. Such a scary thing to happen, and it does happen to many people so I am grateful that you are able to reach out to us.

Taylor said...

I've already said a prayer, and I'm with you girl. Just remember the lord gives you trials so you can overcome and become a better person!!! Your emails and texts liven my days, I'll always be here for ya!

xoxo-T

Anna Jane said...

praying for your friend, Pat! cancer affects just too many of us and often it hits many of us close to home. hope you're doing ok, C.

Annie said...

oh carrie, i am so sorry to hear this. I will definitely be praying for her.. I'm just so glad YOU are Pat's neighbor. keep us posted. sending love your and pat's way.. xo

TheChambrayCountess said...

Your post took all the breath out of my lungs. That is so terrible, but I am glad she has your support. I will be praying for Pat, too.

Higgenbottom said...

I'll be praying that the Lord will heal Pat's body and she and her husband will lead happy and healthy lives until their last breath, may they seek the Lord for peace and comfort that only He can and will give. I pray the Lord will use this opportunity to draw people closer to His unfailing love.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Kai.Mercado. said...

Wow. What a touching story. You know I will absolutely pray for her! Please keep me updated on her progress....and as for you. I hope you are feeling better. At least you had blanket to keep you company all weeekend. If you don't mind if I ask, what is it you do?

Torrie said...

Carrie,

I have so much to say- about your post yesterday, and today. It's hard, really really hard when a person's 'true (and not so kind) nature is exposed. It's not just a let down of that particular person, but of *people*... life... in general. On the flip side, what it does for me is that it serves as a reminder (in a BIG way) of who I want to be, who I want to raise my children to be, who I want to cherish, and associate with... a reminder of how much I appreciate those that are not that way- that I can trust and count on.

As for your neighbor, I will absolutely pray for her. A few weeks back, I had a scare myself, and words cannot describe the feeling that this disease is (or could have been, in my case) growing inside of you.

Thank you for sharing, and writing in such a personal and honest way.

la petite coquine said...

Oh Carrie, I'm so sorry, and I hope you know what an amazing support you have already been to your wonderful friend Pat. I am terrible at prayer, but I'm going to give this one everything I've got. If nothing else, I'll be thinking about all three of you, hoping for her remission and her husband's health.

xoxoxoxoxox

PriscilaPetersDecor said...

Carrie,
I'm sorry.
Hoping she comes back home soon.
You're doing great for her. I'll be praying.

Marie a la Mode said...

This is sad news. I pray every night and she will be in my prayers tonight.

Annabel said...

so sorry to hear about this :[

pepperandchips.blogspot.com

Claire Kiefer said...

This is so scary and I will say a prayer for Pat right now. It's infuriating how many women have to go through this terrible thing. I am doing the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk in September, and I will think of her and my grandma and all the other women who have dealt with breast cancer. I did the walk the year before last, too, and it's absolutely amazing/shocking/inspiring how many women (some as young as we are) are survivors.

hip hip gin gin said...

Oh God. I'm with Annelise, cancer is definitely a c-word. The biggest c-word of them all. I'm so sorry, for you and for your neighbor. I'm saying a big prayer for her. And for you too, I'm sure she'll need you when she gets home and that is a hard thing for anyone.
All my love to you both.

this free bird said...

Thanks everyone. Wind's out of my sails today, but hoping to get some back tomorrow. xo

drollgirl said...

i am not sure what to write here, but here goes anyway. i hope she is going to be ok. breast cancer is just awful. i guess any type of cancer is awful. my mom had breast cancer when she was 40. she survived and is/has been doing fine for over 20 years, but it changed her and my family forever. and now that i am 40 i worry about stupid breast cancer all the time (particularly since my older sister -- age 46 -- was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year. sometimes you feel like it is just a matter of time before you get the cancer sentencing. it is MADDENING). fear and avoidance are powerful POWERFUL things. but taking care of business and hoping for the best are great options. i sure hope she is going to be ok. hugs to you, and to her.

Jess said...

Oh my, Carrie. This is just heartbreaking.

You always put things into perspective for me too. I've had some problems at my work lately, and feel like my world is going to end. Reading this makes me realize how love and health are really the most important things in life.

I will pray for her. And I send you a big hug as well.
xo

PursuitOfLLT said...

pat is absolutely in my prayers and thoughts. cancer is such an evil disease and can strike anyone at any time and that's what makes it so terrifying.

:(

Lori said...

Thank goodness this is working now ~ I tried to comment this morning to no avail.
Now ~ even though I cannot remember exactly what a wanted to say to you 10 hours ago ~ I do know that I feel for you ~ I am praying for Pat and sending big hugs across the miles Carrie. xo

Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

As I read this, I said a prayer for your neighbor. Keep us updated.

My Heart Blogged said...

I hope she heals fast, and the cancer does not spread. I will be praying for her, and her husband.

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry. Praying they found it soon enough! The big C can suck it. I lost my Auntie a few years ago. I truly hope we see some progress toward a cure in our lifetime!

Ashley said...

I will be keeping your neighbor in my thoughts and prayers! :(

-Ashley
http://breakfastatsaks.blogspot.com

OneCraftyFox said...

Hey doll, you have a truly incredible and kind heart. Your friend Pat is in my thoughts and prayers, I am truly sorry to hear the news.

Also, major suckage regarding your weekend post below. That I can totally relate to and am experiencing myself right now.

Sending you a big, warm virtual hug... get ready for it... here... it... comes... GOT CHA!!

Allison said...

I relate b/c mym mom had a bilateral masectomy. I'll be praying for your friend's health.

Danielle {breakfast at toast} said...

This is so sad. Please let Pat know that she is in my thoughts and prayers. You too, doll. Please keep us posted on how she is doing.

xo

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Oh dear. What a sad story. She should have gone to the Docs when she found that tiny lump in the first place. I always visit my Doc if I find anything new in my body. Hopefully it's not too late and she'll be OK. I wish her the best on Tuesday. And I embrace you even if it's a virtual one. XXX

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh, this breaks my heart to read. I can't even imagine the stress of having cancer on both her and her husband. The only glimmer of hope is that it's (unfortunately) fairly common now and many people thrive after having surgery. (My aunt recently had a double mastectomy.) My thoughts are with her and with you, m'friend. xoxo

Kara said...

Wow, this was super touching and well written. Saying a prayer or 12 for your friend Pat.

Kara said...

So sad. Definitely felt the tears coming as I read this. I'll be praying for her, but also for you too Carrie. Looks like it's been a really rough couple of days. xx

Ashleigh said...

I have chills. I'll be praying and sending good vibes to both of you!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I read the post above as well - glad the surgery went well! She'll def be iun my prayers still, though. Not sure if I ever told you, I work for an event planning company and we produce cancer fighting events in Canada. You may have heard of them: The Weekend to End Breast Cancer (now called Women's Cancers), The Underwear Affair, and The Ride to Conquer Cancer. The stories we hear are so sad, but it's also a great feeling to know that I am a part of helping find a cure for cancer.

Erika said...

LOVEBUG ur friend and her family as well as u are in my prayers! - we can kick the ass out of this cancer - it's a damn sh*tty road - but we can do it! ... i had chills reading this .. i'm off to hopsital now to see my MommaDukes!

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