So, a friend of mine died of ovarian cancer on Friday morning. Unlike other folks who I sorta know who have died of OVCA in the last couple of years, she is someone I knew in the flesh and knew before her diagnosis.
Marianna got diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer about a year ago. I remember pretty clearly because I was having a crap-tastic weekend. I had just been told my dad has lung cancer, and I had a major appointment of my own at the High Risk Clinic, and in the midst of all that, a couple of friends took me out for dinner, to offer some morbid support. While we were having burritos, one of my friends’ cell phone rang, saying that Marianna was in the emergency department, with her girlfriend. On the way back from dinner, we stopped in to check on Marianna.
She said that the surgeons had drained a litre and a half of fluid from her lungs. She said they were talking about the possibility that it was cancer but, as she said, she wasn’t willing to believe that right off the bat.
I remember thinking, “You hold on to that thought as long as you can, sister.”
Marianna did chemo right up till about three weeks ago.
Along the way, people I know would say that she was dying.
I, as a cancer survivor, have a particular issue with regular folks deciding how much time a cancer patient has left on the clock. But suffice to say that Marianna has been proving folks wrong for at least the last six months.
And on Friday, she died.
I saw her on Monday night. She had been unconscious and, out of the blue, came to on Monday and spent the day on her porch, enjoying herself. By the time I got there, she had slipped back into sleep. But I sat there with her. It was nice. The house was warm like an orchid hothouse, but her bedroom window was open and it was a summer rain happening outside and a nice breeze and the sound of rain falling, and I was happy for her that she got to be in her home.
I had planned to go back on Thursday, but I got the mother of all colds and couldn’t go with all my germs.
And I knew that might mean I just wouldn’t see her again before she died. But then again, I thought, people have been burying Marianna for the last 6 months.
On Friday morning, a friend called to tell me she had died earlier that morning. I hope it was as peaceful as can be.
And now, my head is a jumble of emotions, few of which make sense in any linear fashion.
And tomorrow, I will go to a fund raising walk for Ovarian Cancer Canada.
Last year, after the walk, everyone on the team went to visit Marianna at the Cancer Agency, because she was still in the hospital.
Her fight was intense, and, while it seems to have been so much longer, began and ended in a year.
So, R.I.P., Marianna.
You were so much tougher than me.