On Being A Friend …

It’s been about a week and a half since my last post, and Brenda and I have spent much of our time this past week doing the Christmas thing. That’s been good for her and it has taken our minds off much of what has been going on as we waited for our second visit to the surgeon to find out how the surgery went. Work has been extremely busy for me, which is also very good at a time like this as I am able to lose myself in it and go through the motions of year end and ensure that all the details that can be associated with managing a large distribution network are attended to and looked after. It’s good for me, as I work from my office in our home and my office is a good refuge from everything that is going on, but I know it doesn’t help Brenda at all. She is officially off work now, and has been since before the surgery, so I know that the times I am working up in my office are good for me but are probably hard on her. She’s always been comfortable in her own skin though, so she is doing as well as can be expected.

Last week my post came across a little angry I think, but I needed to vent so it was therapeutic. And words from fellow bloggers helped me to understand that it’s OK to vent in this manner once in a while. I wanted this particular post to have a more positive spin, so I decided to write a little about the importance of friendship. I am extremely humbled by the number of people that have come out and offered their assistance or help in any way that they can. I have had a favorite quote on friendship for some time now. Mary Ann (Marian) Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist born in England November 22, 1819 and was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She died December 22, 1880. Her novels, largely set in provincial England, are well known for their realism and psychological insight. Eliot used a male pen name, she said, to ensure that her works were taken seriously. Female authors of the time published freely under their own names, but Eliot wanted to ensure that she was not seen as merely a writer of romances. It’s sad, that she felt that the times dictated to her that she would have to write under a male pen name. An additional factor may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes. They lived together as man and wife, but Lewes was unable to divorce his wife from his failed marriage.

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” ~ George Eliot

Much of this past week has been spent around good friends. A week ago Sunday, we went downtown and had our annual Christmas breakfast with some friends at the Bellagio Café in Vancouver. Brenda really looks forward to this every year as it is a time to connect with Clayton and Keiko, and Len and Andrea. Clayton and Len are actually customers of mine who have become good friends, and it meant a lot to her to be able to be there. We rounded out the day by attending a Christmas concert that afternoon with our good friends Ross and Maureen, and as it turned out that it was a good thing that the concert was in the afternoon. You see, we have season tickets to our local community theatre with Ross and Maureen, and any time we attend a play at the White Rock Players Theatre on a Saturday night, Ross manages to get about a half hour into the production and then he starts to do the head bob. It rather comical. He’s such a party animal, and on a regular weekday, once 8:30 PM rolls around he’s pretty much done for the evening, although he would never admit it. At least this production was the matinee, so Ross actually stayed awake. Brenda was pretty tired that Sunday night, so we were glad we didn’t push ourselves too far and go to the community Christmas party that same night. Three things in one day would have been too much for her.

Counting Friends

I am amazed by the number of friends who have called, texted, or written Brenda over the last week. When our personal friends, neighbours, and some of her friends from work found out about the road she had ahead in her battle with breast cancer, the calls just kept coming. I actually had to do an out of town overnight trip last week, so I was a little concerned with leaving her but she managed just fine. One of the days that I was away, 3 friends from Brenda’s work came to visit and it really touched her to know that they cared enough to take the long trek after work to come and visit, and then fight the traffic going back during rush hour. Especially when they had to go back through the infamous George Massey Tunnel which has lane reversals in effect during rush hour to allow the southbound traffic 3 of the 4 lanes in order to keep things moving. The one lonely lane going northbound through the tunnel is definitely to be avoided at those times, especially when you think that the traffic going north funnels from five lanes down into one just before the tunnel. Thanks to them for visiting her, it really lifted her spirits. Brenda’s daughter Chelsea and boyfriend Owen also got in from Malta last week and they spent some time with us at our family dinner this past Saturday, so it was great for Brenda to see them and be able to spend time with them over Christmas as well.

True Friend

We had our post op visit with the surgeon yesterday to find out how the surgery went. Actually, Brenda went to see her GP last week to get a refill on her pain medications, and the GP had the pathology report from the lab. It was filled with the usual confusing medical terminology, but we did manage to get a lot of information from it prior to yesterday’s visit. It turns out that they actually took 24 of Brenda’s lymph nodes, and not 10 like we originally thought. The meeting with the surgeon went well, and we have the good news to report that he believes that he got all of the cancer. We are a little concerned with the fact that her cancer is considered a Nottingham III grade 3 cancer, which means it is a very aggressive cancer with 8 points out of a possible 9 on the grading scale, so that part is a little concerning. The surgeon is referring us to the cancer clinic here in Surrey, so the next step is to await their call to set up the appointments for chemotherapy treatments. We are not looking forward to that at all, but we know it is the next logical step in the battle and it is best to get going with it as soon as possible.

Focus

Although the news was a little disheartening with the post op visit with the surgeon, Brenda is still remaining extremely positive. It was a typical good news / bad news scenario, with the cancer being all removed which is a very good thing, but with the cancer being aggressive it means that we just have to fight that much harder. Thanks to all of you who care and have been in contact or are reading my little blog, you mean the world to us. Until next time …

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14 thoughts on “On Being A Friend …

    • Thanks so much, Mimi … It seems we do have friends and good wishes from all over. Thanks very much for your positive thoughts and wishes, they mean a lot …

      • Mimi … I am a little confused though … when you say across the pond, I thought you were in the US? And I am here in Canada … haha … although there are many people from across the pond that are following and sending good wishes for sure! Thanks again for your kind words … 🙂 … maybe it is me who is confused? Which is not unusual, lately …

  1. We shall all “fight the good fight” together, which makes us a fierce adversary for the cancer. Your support network continues to grow into a solid foundation of hope and prayers. We are with you and Brenda… Blessings.

    • Thank you, Theresa, I have learned all through this so far that Brenda has an amazing support network, and since I began blogging that has included many new WordPress friends as well. Thank you for your kind words and blessings, they mean a lot to both of us as we “fight the good fight together” …

  2. Funnily enough Michael has just remarked about a TV programme today where the presenter talked abour “the hell of chemotherapy” and having just completed chemo himself Micheal felt this painted far too much a negative picture of what is a very positive treatment to make him better.

    I well remember the first day we arrived in th the oncology unit, both of us anxious and quiet, not really knowing what to expect having heard awful stories of side effects and being cheered by the relaxed atmosphere with bald people laughing and joking..

    Actually Michael slept away most of the time and I read lots of books! They gave him a raft of drugs to help countersct the side effects. Which seemed to work.

    Of course we had our down times but what I am trying to say is dont be afraid. Its really a very positive thing.

    As to friends. Well it’s marvellous thst Brenda hss so much support it helps a lot.

    Love Denise. …also from.accross the pond!

    • Hey Denise! I’ve been wondering how you and Michael were making out after getting Michael’s great news two weeks ago about being in remission. It’s also great to hear that Michael felt that being positive about the chemo helped him to heal and beat back the cancer that he was experiencing. Believe me, Brenda and I are remaining positive and are ready to “fight the good fight” as Theresa said earlier. Knowing that there are so many of you here and across the pond are rooting for Brenda helps her spirits and keeps us positive about it all. She just wants it to start now (the chemo) so she can get on with the next stages of beating this back and so we can look forward to some day when she gets the same news as Michael. Thanks for your note …

  3. It’s at moments like this you see very quickly who are your true friends and who are mere acquaintances. Glad that so many people are coming through for you. I hope someone will go to chemo with her as well. I did that once or twice for a friend who had (and survived) her breast cancer.

    • Thanks, we really are fortunate with respect to our friends and family. And thankfully, my business travel will be drastically down starting January 1st with some corporate changes in my company. My goal is to be with Brenda during the chemotherapy as much as possible, and then we will call on those family and friends who have offered as needed. It’s definitely times like these when you do see who are your true friends are. Again, thanks for your note, Caitlin …

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