Unfortunately, a dear high school friend of ours was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As typical when hearing this type news, you think, “too young to be fighting for his life”, and “why?” I’m sure that people had the same thoughts about me when they learned of my diagnosis – breast cancer at the young age of 34 and pregnant?! Whew, that’s heavy stuff!

Nowadays, there is so much more out there on social media for information and support for whatever ails you. Heck, when Jim was having consistent pain on his lower right side one weekend last spring, I checked out WebMD and realized that he might have appendicitis! I immediately and luckily got a Sat. AM appt with his doctor who subsequently insisted that we go right to the hospital ER from his office. Yup, it was his appendix alright, and ready to burst. My intuition to check that site might have saved Jim’s life!

There is also a wonderful, free, on-line site called Caring Bridge. Caring Bridge offers the opportunity to set up a blog page with commentary, photos, & posts from the patient or their family so that those who care about you can check in on your progress, write comments of support, share stories, etc. It’s a wonderful tool to keep everyone in the loop and for the patient to feel the love.

The following is my friend’s initial post on Caring Bridge and his sincere words touched me profoundly.
Diagnosis
His words haunt me. It’s because he explains it so realistically. One day you are fine. Another day you don’t feel so well. After some time with odd symptoms, you decide that you’d better get checked out because the symptoms worsen or are interfering with your activities. And then, “BAM”, it hits you – The Big “C”. No one likes to think about it, but this is how it happens.

Lesson to be learned from his experience, and mine – always listen to your body’s signals. Don’t ignore odd symptoms for too long. Take the time to get checked out before whatever it is worsens. One thought that I always carry with me is this – whatever is meant to be, will be. But, I will be determined to catch it early on and give myself the best chance of fighting it and for a positive outcome.

I listened to my body when I felt discomfort in my breast. I listened when I felt feverish and ill. I took action and called for help when I found that tiny lump myself. I took action to seek a second opinion when I was rashly told to abort my healthy baby “to save myself”. And now, 22 years later, I thank God every day for listening to my inner self and accepting the help of the angels who helped to save both my life and Bryan’s.