Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Big Fat Surprise

I spent the day lounging at the pool in the mild Arizona heat of 108 degrees, sipping on some strange concoction of vodka and Malibu Rum topped off with Squirt (not one I would recommend), enjoying the day with one of my dearest friends. We were idly chatting and simultaneously attempting to cool off and crisp to a golden bronze while enjoying a mild buzz when she informed me that a co-worker of ours was terminal with cancer. "WHAT???" I proclaimed, hand fluttering to my mouth. "No! What? Are you sure? OHMYGOD! What???" were the only words that tumbled from me. I was shocked, deeply saddened and terribly confused. She was surprised that I did not know and filled me in on the specifics. Stage 4, not long to live, chemo and radiation and surgery already exhausted. I warmly recollected this lady as a gentle, kind and dear woman and attempted to place her into this circle of ugly illness and shortened life. It was just a wrong fit and I became quite upset.

I felt like I had just learned a terrible, dirty secret about a good friend, one that I did not really want to know. It changed my perception of who she was and challenged my idea of reality as a whole. But it also gave me a bit of perspective. I sit here and bitch and moan and cry and fume about the impact of Fibromyalgia on my life and how it has totally screwed it up, and my feelings are very valid and true. But to imagine this dear lady, staring death right in the face, that still gets up every day and puts her game face on and heads off to work to guarantee her health insurance was more than I could bear. As a wave of gratefulness washed over me I realized I DO NOT count my blessings nearly often enough, and I do not tell those I love that I love them nearly enough, and I take for granted so much that I have, and although Fibromyalgia has been one mean son-of-a-bitch, it is not a disease that will kill me. I will keep this dear lady in my thoughts and prayers and hope for the best possible outcome for her and her family. I will also try to keep my perspective, marching ahead but always stopping to lend a hand to those along the way that demonstrate even the slightest need. For the truthful thing to say is that Fibromyalgia is not as bad as it gets.

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