Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm Walking For Donna A.

I'm lucky to have a friend, Jason, who has been a colleague at work and a good friend for four years now.  I've changed positions in my job a couple times since we worked in the same office, but we've kept in touch every now and then via email or a quick catch-up meeting.

Jason is married to a great woman, Donna. They are very much in love.  In fact, Jason and Donna are the longest married "newlyweds" I've ever met!  When I first met them both, I really thought they had just recently found each other and fallen in love -  they were giddy around each other, they called each other all the time just to check in, they had the sweetest aura around them, like a bubble that the outside world couldn't burst.   But then I learned that they'd been married for quite a few years.  They just treated each other with such love, all the time, every day.  It was amazing to me!

I asked Jason how they could keep up such a sweet "newness" to their romance.  He said that he took time every day to be thankful for Donna, for the love she brought him and the love they shared together.  He said that he'd waited a long time to get it "right", and so had she.  They both had some not-so-great relationships in their pasts. And so when they finally found each other, it was something neither of them wanted to take for granted.  I've always been so impressed by that, and I try to take a lesson from them in my own marriage to my great husband, Dave.

A couple days ago, I sent Jason an email to check in and see how his summer is going.  My note went something like:  "Hey Jason, how's it going?  Haven't seen you in a while, hope things are good at work and at home.  Give me a call, maybe we can get together to catch up."

This morning his response came in my inbox.  I expected to read something like "Hey Jenny, thanks for the note... yes, let's meet for lunch."  Instead, my eyes scanned the long-ish message and caught some words I did not expect or want to see.

Donna... doctor... lump... mammogram... surgery... biopsy... chemo... radiation.

I couldn't believe it!  As I tried to read the message, I had to go back and start over multiple times before I really understood.

I immediately picked up the phone and talked to Jason to find out more.  I learned that Donna found a lump during a self exam. Her mammogram earlier this year had not caught it.  She's had three lumpectomies, and they're currently awaiting results from the third one to see if she will need any further surgery or not.  As of now, they think she won't need chemo, but will need radiation and hormone therapy.  I didn't catch all of the information Jason gave me - there were lots of medical details that I don't really understand... I suppose these are things you learn in the crash course on oncology that you have to take when you are diagnosed.

As Jason was talking, I couldn't think of anything to say.  I couldn't think of anything to offer, anything to do.  I felt so useless.  What exactly are you supposed to say in a moment like this?  What are you supposed to do?  How do you help a friend face something so scary?

I'm really glad to hear that Donna's prognosis is good.  I don't really understand all of the details, but what I took away from the conversation is that while it's bad, it could have been much worse.

So now I will add Donna to my list of cancer patients that I'm walking for.  I want Donna to be completely cured.  I want Donna and Jason to enjoy a long, happy life of love together, to fulfill their dreams, and continue to show the world how marriage should be done.

Won't you please contribute to the cause?

1 comment:

  1. A heartbreaking story that is entirely too common. This is why we deal with the sore feet and the slog of fundraising!

    Best wishes for your friends, they sound like wonderful people.

    ~ Kristen