Monday, 24 October 2011

Pink Ribbons for my friend Lisa

Today is Pink Ribbon Day, although I always think that October is Pink Ribbon Month

I don't think there would be too many people in our society that have not been affected in one way or the other by this insidous disease, breast cancer.

It is incredible that with all the advancements in our society in different areas, there are still between 2600 and 2700 women who die every year from this disease.

I have had two friends pass away from this disease, both Mum's, and both wonderful women.

One of them, I didn't know for very long, but Lisa and I became close friends in the time we had together.
She had two beautiful children, the same age as mine, with Estelle and Georgia becoming friends and Sam and Ashton becoming good buddies and young soccer players at the age of four.

Lisa had just remarried when her cancer returned, this was when I met her. She was about 8 years younger than me, and had a bit of an irreverant side like me. Lisa and her new husband moved back in with her absolutely wonderful parents to ensure everyone was cared for.

Her parents were so welcoming to myself and my family. I was going through a very tough time with my marriage breaking down and whenever I visited the home, especially when Lisa did not have the energy to get out of bed, the family would always ask how I was first!

To see Lisa lying in her bed, with barely enough energy to greet her gorgeous kids as they returned home from school and kindy, was heartbreaking. But, she always made an effort. And, she was always up for a gossip about some of the 'caring' mum's at school!

Lisa never held back, another thing we had in common. She loved nothing better than having a bit of a 'bitch session' about all the do-gooders who were trying to 'help' her!

Lisa had two wishes that she expressed to me in one visit. She was always so positive, even when she couldn't lift her head off the pillow.  And on this one day when we shared some tears together about not what she was losing, but what she would never have, she told me of her two immediate wishes.

Lisa wanted to make her 30th birthday (yes, she was so young), and to see her beloved Ashton start school with my Sam.

We celebrated Lisa's 30th birthday with a great picnic at Bobbin Head. It was a great day with so many of her friends and family there, and Lisa lying on a lounge wrapped in blankets and telling everyone what to do.

My last visit to Lisa was when she was in hospital. I had no idea that this would be our last visit. She had been transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital from the Mater Hospital and she was in a very bad mood as she didn't like Royal North Shore. I had to agree with her as the room was horrible, nothing warm about it at all. She made me go and buy her an ice block because she had a yucky taste in her mouth.

Of course, I couldn't get the one ice block she wanted so I bought her five different ones in the hope that at least one would be suitable. Of course, I copped it as she said that I was not even getting a dying woman the bloody ice block she wanted. Of course, I told her how ungrateful she was, and we both laughed.

When I left that day, with her still gobbling on the third ice block, I told her I would be away for three days and that would see her on my return. We even had a bet that she would be returned to The Mater Hospital before I returned, and would be home before long. She told me that I needed a break (!!!) and to get some rest.

The next day as the children and I were travelling up the coast, I received a phone call.

Lisa had passed away.  This was truly one of the saddest days of my life. She had looked so well the day before, what had happened? Was their a mix up? Why couldn't they help her? How could this happen to one so young, with her children only 6 and 4.

I learnt a lot from Lisa and her family including her kids, her parents, her husband and her brother and his partner. I was lucky to have someone like Lisa in my life, albeit for such a short time.

I have had another friend pass away from this hideous disease, and have also a very close friend who has beaten this disease. 

So please, if you have a lump, no matter the size, go and get it checked out. No, a mammogram is not the most comfortable thing I know, but it sure beats the other option.

So today I am wearing my pink ribbon and thinking about all those who have beaten this disease, and those who did not.

Oh, and Lisa never did see Ashton start school.

For more info, click on this link

Enjoy your day

Lisa xox

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