I was on a dark airplane, finally taxiing toward takeoff and Birmingham after nine hours of a layover in Detroit that wasn’t supposed to be. In a perfect world, I was scheduled to be home by 3:10pm, in plenty of time to walk Marley and settle into being back home with Dan. In my
not-so-perfect world, I got home closer to 11pm. And, for the record, not in any perfect world would my best friend be diagnosed with breast cancer. For a second time. After she already faced colon cancer in 2010.
My trip to Lincoln to visit my best friend of well over thirty years had been planned for quite some time. We’d not seen each other in a year thanks to the pandemic and we also wanted to play through some music that had been written for us prior to the world coming to a screeching Covid-inspired halt.
Just five minutes after Diane picked me up at the airport in Omaha, the call came over the car speaker with the results of her biopsy; invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. Again. I put my hand on her shoulder as the tears began to roll down her cheeks. I felt numb, like suddenly we were floating through space in slow motion as time ground to a halt. I can’t even imagine what Diane felt. One minute everything was laughter and chatter, the next, it wasn’t. Not one bit.
What do you say to someone as they receive life-changing news while speeding down the highway- much less a woman who might as well be my sister? A woman who spent the pandemic making amazing lifestyle changes and getting really healthy? I am not usually gifted with the spoken word at the best of times. But, the language of friendship doesn’t always need to be spoken to be heard. Sometimes it is incredibly precious to sit in the sad silence together and just know that the pain is shared, hopefully easing the awful weight at least a small bit.
But, there is an appropriate word when it comes to cancer invading my BFF’s body in a sadistic three-time’s-the-charm kind of way; if nothing else, a word to make it perfectly clear that it has a battle coming its way. My BFF is a cancer ninja and this latest attempt to upend her life will not defeat her body or her spirit. I’ll do all I can to make sure she remembers her strength along the way…and to share mine with her when the load becomes too heavy.