When Your Friend Tells You She Has Cancer...



I've been thinking about this for a little while now. Telling the story of my best friend being diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma is not a blog post I ever wanted to write. It's not a story that is easily shared and I want you to know that as I share it here, every word typed is painful as it leaves my brain and makes it's way to my fingers. I don't want to be telling this story, but as I sit here and tell it, I know that she is 300 miles away living these words. So, for a few minutes of your day today, maybe you can get to know the amazing person that I have had the privilege to call my friend for over 20 years. Maybe in some way, you'll be encouraged by her unwavering spirit. Maybe when you put your phone down or shut your laptop, you'll forget all about what was making you upset prior to reading this and reach out for a hug, or even a hello to someone you know needs it. 

If you clicked to continue reading, I want to say "thank you". You didn't have to. You could have scrolled on by, but you did not and for that I think you rock.

This picture is dear to me. This is before cancer. This is just us.



Her sweet baby girl that captures everyone's heart.


These sweet boys were so excited to show me their bunk beds and Legos

Statistically, you've probably been touched by cancer in some way in your life. Maybe right now you have a loved one fighting or maybe you're the one in the ring.

Regardless of the circumstance, cancer is just a terrible diagnosis no matter how you slice it. It wasn't something any of us expected when Jessica went to the ER some months back with stomach pain and sickness. She thought she may have an issue with her gall bladder. As it turned out, she had a tumor in her intestine and immediately went in for surgery.

The tumor was cancerous and so began her journey to a diagnosis. This journey would take months and would bring her up and down the east coast in search of a diagnosis and treatment plan. She tells the story of this incredibly frustrating and confusing time in her blog which I've linked. She explains it much better than I ever could, but basically after commuting from Maryland To NYC many times and receiving every known test available, she finally received the news she had been anxiously awaiting.

College roomies

Unfortunately, the news was not what we all had hoped it would be:

Stage 4 Sarcoma

During this entire journey, Jess has kept her sense of humor and positive outlook. Did I mention she has always loved stand up comedy and would make a pretty good one herself? Her humor and optimism is contagious. Her smile is contagious. Her love for others is contagious.

Awkward teen years all the way to mommyhood

We met when we were freshman in high school. It was a new school for both of us. We were both coming from public middle schools to a private high school. It was a huge change and one that I'm so thankful for because it brought us together. Both being new students and not really knowing anyone else, we ended up becoming one another's "person". As the year progressed, so did our friendship. We became inseparable and spent almost all of our free time together. Sleepovers, Starbucks, car karaoke, boyfriends, heartbreak and FUN. I can't imagine surviving high school without her.

Our junior year of college and the humble townhouse we shared

Fast forward to college and we decided to be roommates and live together off campus with another mutual friend. That was our junior year and I will never forget the memories that were made in that home. We have just always felt like we are family. Something just clicked between the two of us and even when many states have separated us, our hearts have never felt the distance.

We grew up together. We went through so many things together that as I look back over the course of my life, I see her face in every hurt and every smile. We joke about our differences. There are a lot. We do not have similar religious or political views, yet it has never mattered or caused a rift between us. What a phenomenon! You can actually be close with someone and have those differences.

Fast forward again to present day and finally discovering her diagnosis and prognosis. A couple of weeks back, her cousin drove her up to New York to meet with the medical team that have been working on her case. She lives in Maryland and had been commuting to a hospital in NYC each week for tests and appointments.

Her doctor says the words that will change her life forever:

Stage 4 Sarcoma. Aggressive chemo. 18-24 months.

A loving husband, 3 precious children and friends and family that would give anything to take this away, and yet the diagnosis stands. I know a lot of people question God when something like this happens. I think that's just human nature as it is too difficult to comprehend how such tragic things can happen to people. The reality of life is that there is a lot of bad in this world. No one "deserves" to deal with the horrible circumstances that sometimes come. God doesn't enjoy seeing his children suffer and it actually breaks His heart too. However, I do believe He has a plan and is behind the scenes bringing His plan to fruition. Sometimes that plan looks so very different than our own. We can't see into the future and we do not know what God may be doing but trusting Him and knowing how much He loves us can bring about a peace that surpasses all understanding. I know and believe that "all things work together for good to those who love God". There is evil in the world but this world is not the end. This brings me so much peace and I hope it will for you too.

So many have been praying for my sweet friend and her family and in the midst of the most difficult time of their lives, God has been providing little blessings around every corner. They are being cared for, supported and loved through this by so many. She told me recently how it warms her heart to know this.

She went for a short cut and fun color in preparation for chemo and even flashed a smile despite feeling so poorly.

The photo above is from my visit a few days ago. I was able to visit her over the weekend and spend some precious time with her and her kiddos. Somehow I was able to hold it together and keep the flood water at bay as I put my arms around her. All we could do is look at each other and let our eyes say all of the things our hearts were feeling. I hate this. I'm scared. I'm sorry. I don't want to lose you. I hate this. You can beat this. I love you. When I got into my little rental car to drive back to where I was staying, the tears came along for the ride.

I wanted to share Jessica's story today because I have a platform that I can use for good. I want you to know that if you are suffering right now, you are not alone. You are loved. You can get through this.

If you have cancer or have a loved one with cancer, please comment so that I can personally pray for you. I am going to commit that to you and it will be done. Jessi's story is not over and is not being told to bring sadness. Her desire is to uplift and encourage someone else with her words and her positivity. I would say she's doing an amazing job at that!

If your heart is stirred and would like to know how you can help this precious family, I began a GoFundMe page to help with the gigantic expense of cancer. It feels like a small way to help but in the midst of a storm, even a pop-up umbrella is appreciated.

To my OG, my friend, my sister, my crazy partner in crime: You've got this. You've got us. You're loved so much.



























https://www.gofundme.com/help-jessi-kick-cancer039s-butt?sharetype=teams&member=844436&rcid=r01-153908853605-e9f8127043ee454e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w


6 comments

  1. What a roller coaster of emotions you all must be going through. I am joining all in prayer for your sweet friend and her loved ones.

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  2. So many prayers are with you both during this season!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. And thank you to Jess for wanting to share her journey with others. I'm praying for her and her family every day. I loved all of the throwback pictures! There were two I hadn't seen before, so that was neat to see :) I love hearing about your memories together. You guys have a beautiful friendship. <3 Praying every day. Love you both. -Lauren

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