A kind soul lost

My last regents class was chemistry in 10th grade. I dreaded this after my earth science experience. In lieu of standard desks, we sat at high top tables. Our lab partner sat across from us. On the first day, the desk across from me was empty when I arrived. It filled before the bell with a girl that I knew through mutual friends but wasn’t currently friends with. Truth be told, I was intimidated. She was smart, beautiful and outgoing. She spoke her mind and laughed infectiously. She was now my lab partner and I was scared that I would slow her down.

That year and that class turned out to be one of my favorites. Her & I became fast friends and our chemistry (see what I did there?) during that class was awesome. We laughed at our goof-ups, studied together to pass tests and helped each other on our homework assignments. Something that scared me at first turned into a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t have asked for a better lab partner. We have since lost touch but I remember distinctly how she helped me through those days – especially with her laugh and smile.

Her mother was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer a few years ago. Through a random circle of events, I found that she had posted on The Underbelly (I recognized her name immediately!), which gave me the confidence to do the same. I learned through a mutual friend that she had been visiting Dana Farber for treatments and reached out immediately. We chatted about our experiences and she invited me to be a part of a Facebook page that she was in, one that she thought I would also benefit from. She was incredibly inspirational, funny and so kind. She accepted me immediately and offered advice, support and her sweet words. I instantly fell in love with her and everything that she exemplified – as a person, a woman and a fellow breast cancer fighter.  I am honored to have called her my friend.

This morning, I learned that she passed away in her sleep. She fought hard past the life expectancy and survived around 46 months. Despite scans that looked good sometimes and not others, she embraced all that life had to offer. She didn’t let anything hold her down or back. When it became difficult to walk, she used a cane or a wheelchair to ensure that she did not miss out on making memories. Her positive outlook and loving spirit drew people into her and made her so easy to love.

I did not have the privilege of meeting her in person but I knew her daughter. And I know that she instilled that same infectious laugh and genuine kindness in her too.

You will be missed, Lynn. Enjoy those purple sunsets and watch over us all until we one day meet.

Lifelong friends

Friendship is an interesting thing. Throughout life, we meet people and connect with them on some level that leaves us wanting to know them better and see them more. Sometimes these connections turn into friendships that last a few months or maybe even a few years. Others may be instantaneous and last forever once the connection is made.  Sometimes, there are friendships that are lifelong.

My parents have been friends with a couple for, what seems like, ever. This couple had children at the same time as my parents and while my parents had 4 girls, their friends had 3 girls and a boy – all the same age as us.  My three sisters & I were each blessed with an instant best friend.

Throughout our childhood, we did everything together – softball, camping, cookouts, swimming lessons, girl scouts, sleepovers and everything in between. We had our fair share of fights but always made up.  My entire childhood is filled with incredible memories with them and adventures we went on together.

We have all taken different paths in our lives but no matter where life has taken us, we have remained in touch. This week, their entire family traveled to Florida for vacation. Joe, Jacob and I took the short drive to Orlando today to spend the afternoon with them. We sat by the pool on this gorgeous day, with the sun shining bright. We watched our own littles play together and splash in the pool. We shared stories about growing up and laughed hard at the life we have shared together. It was an amazing day and something I could have only hoped for when I was a child playing outside with them.

I am blessed to have an incredible group of lifelong friends by my side.  💚

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Oh sweet pedicure…

How I’ve missed this!  One recommendation while undergoing treatment is to avoid pedicures.  Since my immune system is down, there is a greater risk of infection.  I can’t recall the last pedicure I had, so it must have been a while.  With this chilly weather and the dry skin I have from treatment, my feet have seen better days.  After my last round of treatment, I asked when I could get a pedicure again.  Just a few weeks after treatment – yay!

I met my friend Cara years ago when she was my peer at work. We became fast friends and one of our favorite girl days has always been heading to the nail spa to enjoy a pedicure (and typically a little shopping too)!  Cara and her family have been huge supporters throughout this journey.  Her kind heart and listening ear have been priceless during this time.

So when my sweet friend asked if I wanted to join her for a little foot spa treatment, I jumped at the chance!  Our tootsies enjoyed a long soak and scrub while we chatted away, catching up on life, work and everything in between.  It was a great way to enjoy a Thursday before treatment day (thankfully not an aggressive one anymore!).

Cara and I always tend to lean towards the bolder nail colors, with me choosing a beachy blue (to remind me of my happy place while recovering) and her choosing a bright green (Team Red Phoenix!).  What’s your favorite nail color?