Not the Only Ones

Not the Only Ones

One of my dearest friends has breast cancer, Stage 2, which includes a bad marker that compounds her diagnosis. She and her husband of 20+ years, who’ve traveled the world and done many wonderful things in life, now have a bucket list and are quietly ticking boxes, unsure of what the future holds.

Tick One: As an extremely outdoorsy family who live in the northern California highlands, they wanted a Casita travel trailer. Ordering new would have been at least a 6 – 8 month wait, which they were not comfortable with. Two were for sale in this tight trailer market (thanks, Covid) in the entire US. One on the east coast and one in Mansfield, Texas.
Never telling the owner about her diagnosis, they worked diligently to make the deal and drove 24 hours to see it on the faith that it wouldn’t be sold from under them. The seller was aware of an unspecified health issue in the family. Only once they arrived, making sure the seller wore a mask and social distanced, did my girl remove her (literal) bucket hat. With her bald head on display, a few randomly lengthed tendrils of strawberry blonde shooting straight out of her head, she simply smiled shyly (as she often does – I see it in my head) and said “this is the health issue.”


I don’t know what the seller thought, but I do know they had a solid wait list and I’m sure someone would have paid more, but they sold it to them, even though the seller really, really wanted cash and my friends had a cashier’s check.

Fun fact. I actually got to see her after the purchase while her husband readied their new home on wheels for the lengthy drive. We sat in the shade and talked for an hour or so.

I miss her face. She was all smiles and full of wisdom. She was herself. Wicked smart, she understands her circumstances and knows the stats of her 5 – 10 year outlooks.

We had a great discussion, but there was this undercurrent of the unknown. Not knowing if we would see each other again. Subtly, I’ve noticed her thoughtfully, knowingly, change the trajectory of her intentions and impact. Craving a big hug but being Covid denied as she waved goodbye.

Ugh.

I will see her again. I don’t think cancer is strong enough to tackle her. But this is her journey, and I am simply following her lead.

Her tactics did make me overthink on our situation. We’ve never treated Brian’s cancer like there’s a general countdown. We know there’s danger. We wish we could do some activities outside the house, but anyone who knows either of us laughs when they think of us camping.

I grew up in Wisconsin. Camped on lake shores in pitched green tents. I hated it then. Sue me for favoring indoor plumbing I don’t have to dump myself later.

We approve creature comforts and staying home. But there are things I want to do with my husband. Like travel to Europe and the Football Hall of Fame. Hit up a Stanley cup game (hopefully with the Stars playing). See some of our favorite bands in foreign cities. Hang out in Denton.
Needing to be more health conservative than most, when will we get that chance?

I don’t know, but after a fair amount of thought, I do know the way we approach Brian’s cancer is right for us.

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