My best girlfriend had testing done last week and I was anxiously awaiting the results. You know when you have a bad feeling about a situation but you just don’t want to go there? You see, my girlfriend is not a warrior by nature— I take care of that role. While talking to her, I was positive and supportive, but in my mind I was anything but that. I tried to remind myself that I was just being neurotic, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. My gut instincts were working overtime. She promised me that she would call me as soon as she got the news. She was supposed to hear Tuesday, and then by Wednesday at 11:00, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I broke down and called her again.
I asked her calmly, “So, have you heard from them yet?” She replied with a yes and then paused. Those few seconds told me everything I needed to know. And then she said those four words that I was dreading to hear, “I have breast cancer”.
It’s funny, I remember exactly where I was on the freeway when I heard those words, because it seemed like everything changed for me at that moment. I really didn’t expect the news to hit me so hard— but it did. Why would this throw me? — I’m trained as a Mental Health Therapist and I’ve dealt with all kinds of horrible, emotional situations with such calm. I’ve even worked specifically with women struggling with Breast Cancer! I pride myself on always knowing how to handle any situation, not letting my good judgment be taken over by my emotions. Always knowing the right thing to say at the right time. But this time, I pretty much crumbled.
I went totally by my instincts from that moment on. I reminded her how much she was loved and how many friends she had in her life. I promised her that I would help her get through every step of the process that she was about to go through. I also let her know how there were great advances in treatment in the last couple of years that were changing the face of this disease. It surely wasn’t going to be fun, but we were going to get through it.
And when I finished sharing all of that, she did the most incredible thing. She said to me, “I’m sorry that I didn’t get to call you back yesterday— I’m so excited about your great news in your business. It’s all so awesome for you.” I was just stunned. Here she was in the midst of her big crisis, feeling scared and sad, and she was thinking of me! This was probably the worst time of her life and she was still thinking about my good fortune and success.
A person can have lots of “friends” that they interact with daily, weekly, or monthly. Those are the people that come and go throughout the different seasons of your life. If you’re lucky, you have at least one special friend that’s there for you in the long haul. If you’re lucky, you have one special friend that’s right there with you to celebrate every single success and truly feel your pain when life is looking pretty darn bleak.
In a heartbeat, I’m certain that my girlfriend would be standing by me if I just received this news— she’s that kind of friend. I will surely do the same for her.