Monday, October 8, 2012

Life is People

I am continuously surprised, day in and day out, by people both good and bad. There are times I am aghast that someone can be so shallow and self-centered in their life, completely oblivious to the hardship others are enduring around them, but thankfully those moments are not as prevalent as they used to be. Maybe it is because of the people I am surrounded with now, such tremendously amazing people who genuinely care for others... people who get what life is really about. I can not help but sit here in tears when I see someone helping someone else or fighting through something like cancer. I am not normally a crying kind of person but I have no problem admitting that I cry and cry and cry when something touches my heart. I think I have the ability to empathize almost to a fault... I feel the struggles of my friends to my core, in a way that can actually affect my ability to function to my fullest. But I would never want to change that... I would be devastated if I ever became desensitized to someone's pain.

One thing that I must admit I love about Facebook is that I can share in my friends' intimate life moments, both good and bad. Tonight, partly due to Facebook posts, I have a heavy heart and a joyful heart all at once.

There is a page on Facebook called "Prayers for Lane Goodwin" which is dedicated to raising awareness for childhood cancer and ask for prayers for Lane, a 13 yr old who is battling stage IV Aveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. I have been following Lane's story for awhile as have over 250,000 people and it has just really touched me. One main way, I hold my husband a little closer every night, because he battled a childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma, when he was a child and I know that the outcome could have been much different. Lane has also showed me the importance of the heart of a child... we could all take a lesson from him and other children fighting cancer because they grow up very early in life and they really understand what is important. Lane is also one of the many reasons I am in cancer research. It is so important to find a cure. Tonight my heart is heavy for Lane and his family as his mom posted today that the doctors have told them that they believe Lane has entered the next phase where he will now begin to sleep a lot until he just one day doesn't wake up. I am still praying for a miracle as I know his family is, but I am also praying for no pain and peace for his family. I can't imagine watching a child go through that. Though I have never met him, he has taught me about life. Even though I have had cancer myself I continue to learn from others who are fighting.

Another one of those fighters is my friend Karson, or "Johnny" as I know her, who is living with stage IV breast cancer. She is one of the best people I know, and that is a major understatement. She is genuine, caring, selfless, strong... everything I want to be; everything everyone should want to be. I want her to beat this thing so bad, I can't even express it. The relationship she has with her husband is just adorable and it kills me that there is no way I can take this pain away from them both. I pray for her daily but it never seems like enough. I was lucky enough to get to visit her in Knoxville this past weekend and even though I could only stay a short time it was such an amazing weekend. We spent the WHOLE day Saturday just sitting on her couch talking, from the moment we woke up until around 2am the next day. Seriously. We actually talked so much that we completely forgot about lunch... when we looked at the clock for lunch it was almost 5pm. By the time we went to bed we both had sore throats. I haven't spent time like that with a friend in so long. She is really special to me.
Me and Karson right before I left.

Me wearing Karson's pink firefighter helmet that her husband's station (he is a firefighter) had made for her.

She has taught me so much. She has taught me how to fight, how to love, and how to live. And that is the best gift anyone can give.

And there are so many other people I pray for daily... Sarah who is fighting stage IV breast cancer and brain tumors- another amazing woman who has taught so many people so much. And Mandy, also stage IV breast cancer, who is raising 4 beautiful daughters while fighting and I know they will become amazing women just like their mom. Also, my friend Tiffany, who is living with stage IV thyroid cancer. She is fearless, caring, and really full of life. All such awesome girls that I am blessed to know.

Life is people. Nothing is as important as people. Cancer taught me that. My friends continue to teach me that. Strangers remind me of that. When we reach the end of our time we will not care how much money we made, what degrees we have, or how many places we have traveled. We will only care who we have spent time with, who we have loved, because it will be those people who will be by our side. I am blessed with the people in my life. I thank God for them all.

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"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"