It was April 1st, 2014. Yes, April Fool’s Day. A day when we rack our brains, trying to think of that perfect gag to play on co-workers and friends. But not last year. Last year April Fool’s Day was no laughing matter. And it’s a day I’ll never forget – as long as I live.
I was sitting in my office with my face in the computer when I received a call from my best friend. She had her biopsy results — Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. And it had metastasized to her liver. I think this is the first time I fully understood what the term “in shock” meant. Just six months earlier we lost a friend to breast cancer – and the probability of the “C” word hitting again was impossible – so we thought.
I remember trying to speak, but couldn’t. Hindered by that lump in my throat. When I finally opened my mouth, my voice was trembling. And tears were running down my face. However, the person on the other end of the line wasn’t trembling. She wasn’t even crying. She was pissed! “FUCK THIS!” As I recall… were her exact words. And it was at that very moment I knew, cancer had met its match.
I may not be right about a lot of things in my life, but I knew I was right about this. There was no way this badass friend of mine was going to be a statistic. And so, for the sake of this post, she agreed to let me refer to her simply as “Badass.” Because she is. Thank God. And we love her for it.
Badass immediately started researching the best treatment options, speaking to doctors, and reaching out to survivors. She changed her diet, started taking supplements… and she prayed. Every day. Religiously, so to speak. Still does. And not just for herself, but for others. And we pray for her right back.
And, although reluctant, she accepted help from others. Whether it be a shoulder to lean on, someone to stay with her during treatment, or homemade meals delivered to the house… she agreed to let others in. Like the purple bracelet says “No One Fights Alone.”
Someday I’ll tell her whole story. But for now, this is just part of her journey. The journey to “Survivorship.”
You know, they say that God works in mysterious ways, and boy do I believe it. Because it was that same day I received a call from a friend I hadn’t seen in months. And little did I know she’d be instrumental in helping Badass fight this fight.
Maryann, and her husband Brian, called to see if I’d like to meet them out for some Buffalo wings and a beer so we could catch up. As much as I wanted to, I just wasn’t in the mood – still reeling from the bad news. As we talked on the phone Maryann shared with me that she had a number of family members with Pancreatic Cancer. And from that very moment, she was on board – sharing information about the Macrobiotic diet, doing research, checking in on Badass, and praying every day. And it was Maryann that initiated our visit to Sloan Kettering – to an extraordinary person by the name of Nick Medley.
Fast forward to September 2015…
Badass is doing amazingly well almost 18 months after her diagnosis, and looks fantastic to boot. Yes, she still gets hit on by any man who glances her way. She’s a “hot” Badass, don’t cha know. However…looks aside, she’s still fightin’ the fight and we need to kick it outta the park!
On September 18th, 2015, we visited the Sloan Kettering Outpatient Cancer Center in NYC. You see, Maryann learned about a concierge at Sloan Kettering who gives “healing hugs,” and insisted we bring Badass to meet him. “My husband and I will pay for the hotel.” she said, “We need to do this; we need to go!” So…we did. Remember, when an earthly angel (AKA Maryann) is this insistent… you do as she says. And I’m so glad we did.
When you walk through the doors at Sloan Kettering there’s no need to ask for Nick…he’s waiting for you. He’s the first person you see. And you can feel his love and concern immediately.
His smile alone melts your heart. And when he hugs you – yes, he hugs everyone – you feel the warmth, the healing, the sense of peace.
His caring is not superficial.
It’s genuine. And for a man who was featured on ABC news, and gives over a thousand hugs a day, we were shocked that he spent over two hours with us… telling Badass success story, after success story.
He held her hands. He looked into her eyes. He said “Trust. Release. Live.” Trust in God — that all will be okay. Release your Worries — even if it means screaming, and punching a pillow. And Live your Life — to the fullest!
As I watched him speak to Badass, I was at the edge of my seat. There was something about Nick. I could see it in his eyes. A sense of calm came over me just being in his presence. I could tell that Badass and Maryann felt it too. A sense that everything was going to be alright.
He gave each of us a guardian angel pin. And said “Whenever you’re having a bad day, look at this pin. And know you’re not alone.”
When it was time to say goodbye, it was kind of sad. Like leaving an old friend. We gave him a Syracuse University polo shirt and made him promise to root for our team. We said we’d keep in touch – and we will. Because he’s now part of this path to recovery. And Badass has already seen a small miracle since our visit. Yes, God does work in mysterious ways.
I asked Badass, “What should we name this post?” and she very simply stated… Miracles Happen.
Yes they do, Badass… yes they do.
Trust. Release. Live. 🙂
And while you’re at it, say a prayer for Badass.
No One Fights Alone!