Friday, 3 September 2010

2010 - 3rd September - Losing a friend, a very special friend.

Whilst I was trying to get to the bottom of my health issues 4 years ago, I joined the MacMillan forums.  I read a few threads on rectal cancer and bowel cancer (same type of cancer, but they are treated slightly differently since the rectum is a separate organ itself).  After a while I started my own called "Recent Rectal Cancer Diagnosis - How big is yours?"  We'd been discussing that size is basically irrelevant - it's how deep a tumour has penetrated through the bowel wall which determines how serious things are.  It was that or "Does my bum look big with this?".  We were a regular group of contributors who supported and consoled and celebrated with each other at the different stages we went through.  To be able to ask someone "is having nose bleeds, mouth ulcers, fizzy feet, crampy hands, dropping things etc normal on this chemo?" and get an answer from someone who's been there is so much better than waiting till a hospital appointment.  We shared tips on how to cope, ranted without fear of upsetting people - everyone has days where they struggle to stay on top.

Most of us have stayed in touch, a smaller group of us have regularly met up over the last four years.  Four girls (I'm the eldest by about 5 years) all in their late 20s/early 30s when diagnosed.  Lisa (me) in Lincolnshire, Bec in Bristol, Deb in Kent and Katie in Manchester.  As we seem to live in the four corners of England, meeting up wasn't so easy, but with Beating Bowel Cancer's annual Comedy Store night in December and the Patient Voices events we had a meeting place already arranged - and met up with Peter, Caz, Alison and others we'd met online.  There is a special bond between us.  Where you might normally try and shield someone from what you feel or are going through, with us it doesn't matter, nothing is taboo.  Poor Peter did have to find out some rather disturbing details about the effects us girls had to endure, which he took very well I must say.  Someone, I can't remember who it was, maybe Caz, could even have been me, named us Bum Bandits - as obviously we're fighting what's in our bums, essentially.  it stuck, we particularly liked that fact that as we were all girls, bar Peter, it might confuse people who might think it referred to sexual preferences.

Alison, Bec and Peter seemed to get the rawest deals, with repeated liver surgery or ablation to remove tumours.  Further chemo, broken bones from spinal tumours, brain tumours, lung tumours.  In July when I found out I too had progressed to stage 4 with lung and liver mets (metastases - when the cancer spreads away from the initial site), Bec found out the next day that she had the same.   Bec got married to the lovely Oliver whilst on her first chemo, all these years we knew she had some small tumours still in some nodes, but they weren't growing, then they kept popping up and she endured more treatment to get rid of them.  This last time though, a tumour in her lung was preventing her heart from getting enough oxygen.  She started on chemo.  I sent her a book and a film and links to web pages I've found helpful.  About meditation, eating vegan and green, staying alkaline, but mostly believing that your mind is the most powerful pharmacy.  When I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago on the phone,  we agreed we would NOT BE SICK and we would fight and win this one together.  We found out we were both having exactly the same pelvic pain which was stopping us sleeping.  

Our lovely Rebecca started chemo last week and was taken into hospital this weekend where she got an infection and yesterday she died.  She would be 33 on 22nd September.  Married a couple of years.  Her wonderful husband contacted Deb - even at such a horrific time, he was worried how the news might affect me so Deb made the decision when to tell me.  Deb and Katie are coming to stay with me this weekend and Bec had hoped to join us, or at least come in a few weeks if she felt up to it.  I can't express how this has affected us all, we've lost one of own, a beautiful, funny, sexy, intelligent woman who didn't deserve to die so young after so much pain.  Ol shouldn't have lost his wife so soon.  It's all so unfair.  I can't let myself wallow in grief for her, I need to stay on top of this and make her death be another reason to shrink my tumours.  I'm fighting it for us both, I'm not going to let her down.

This weekend my special diet (vegan, no meat, no dairy, no wheat, lots of green drinks and wheatgrass juice - to keep my blood alkaline and starve the cancer) will be taking a holiday so we can raise a glass of pink bubbles an toast Bec in the style she deserves (which resulted last time in a £90 Moet Bar Bill in Oxford Street Selfridges).

From her Facebook:

Think It
Believe It
Achieve It
Am I Right?
Feck Off Cancer!!

"Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever" - Lance Armstrong

In memory of a very special Bum Bandit

You're in no more pain Bec, but we will miss you so much xxx


1 comment:

Carole said...

Sad, so very sad....sincere condolences to you all :-(

Raise a glass to Rebecca and celebrate her life this weekend.

RIP Bum Bandit Bec.....