Saturday, February 11, 2012

No. More. Cancer

I decided to post a blog about my dear friend Sarah. I know several of you have followed her story through my Facebook, Twitter, and through SCARS and Bare It All on this blog. I also had a discussion with a dear friend who said "memories fade, story's get distorted but black and white is forever". I never, ever want to forget a single moment of my friendship with Sarah.
I am no where near a novelist, or author. I over use commas, and may have made grammatical errors...but these stories have been written by my heart. Sarah White wrote on my soul with her smile, love, and laughter. Here's why...

Like most of you, I am a Facebook junkie. I love reading people's drama, looking at a million pictures of the same people's kids over and over, and to stalk people who don't have a private page. (Don't judge me, I know most of you do the same thing) A couple of years ago I had been stalking "Sarah White". She was a former school mates wife that had been diagnosed with cancer. I knew they had two kids, and I knew that she was entirely too cute for Brian White. Just kidding...sorta. I also knew her prognosis wasn't good.

 I noticed that Sarah and I had a lot of mutual friends, and she had previously "liked" some wall posts I had put on a friend's wall. It was obvious she had a good sense of humor. I decided to send her a friend request...a simple friend request was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

I expected to see a lot of sadness on Sarah's wall, instead, I saw bravery. I expected to see a woman that was sick and pitiful, instead I saw a sky diving diva who wore the words "I SCARE CANCER" on her diving helmet. Sarah White was NOTHING as I expected. She was what I would later find out to be one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met.   

Sarah and I began a friendship that isn't like most, and we both laughed when people would ask us how we knew each other. Our dinner dates were always to Applebee's which we both shared an uncanny love for. We would always share a Cookie Sundae and even when the chemo would chase away her appetite, she would still force down at least one bite. She was quiet and kind, I am loud and sassy. She was tiny and magnificent, I'm kinda chunky and usually bossy. Opposites attract, even in friendship.

I never treated Sarah like she had cancer, I think that was one of the things she loved about me the most. She had a HUGE support group of people who cared for her, and most of the time I let the worry come from them. For instance, no matter where we were, I would park the car away from our destination and make her walk. I'd tell her that her legs didn't have cancer, and she'd laugh and walk with a smile. When she'd take chemo and lose too much weight, I'd tell her how jealous I was of her ability to see her hip bones.  I haven't seen my hips or ribs in years. I'd bring random gifts every time I'd come to visit, and always announce "Happy Birthday" when I'd enter the room. It was my way of making up for birthday's I had missed, or maybe just knowing that every pretend birthday could be her last. I brought things like Silly String, Jelly Belly's, sexy slippers, iTunes cards, or Coke and Pop Rocks for the kids. Anything I thought would make her forget for one millisecond, that she was sick. Even one second of randomness that reminded her to smile, and laugh was always worth it. I always left her with a hug, and a reminder to kick that cancer's ass, and she'd always promise she would. She was extraordinary.

When Sarah was in STL hospital the last time, I decided I needed to see her. I figured she had been in there for several days, she could use some comic relief. I entered the room with a bag of goodies, announce "Happy Birthday" (which I'm pretty sure her Dad still thinks I should be medicated) and we laugh and talk about all the cool narcotics she's was taking. After an hour or so, I mentioned that she could use some blush or lip gloss because she looked like hell. Of course I was teasing she was radiant even battling cancer. A few minutes later she got up, with her walker, went to the sink and put on lip gloss and blush. I laughed so hard at her attempt. The next thing I know she shuffles her walker over to Brian, and gives him a kiss. Laughingly, he asks her what she's doing, and as she started back to bed, she says with a wink "no since in wasting all this hotness"...THAT was our Sarah. THAT is why we love her so much.

Through our friendship Sarah taught me several things:

Never give up. Ever.
Even on her death bed, she fought until her last breath.

Being afraid is okay.
Sarah wasn't afraid of dying. Sarah was afraid of leaving everyone behind. She knew she was our rock. She knew her C-Fight attitude and super brilliant smile was the glue that kept her family, friends and everyone who loved her together. She knew, even in the end, that she radiated strength that we all soaked up from her.

Never take one single second for granted.
She lived life. Even when the fractures in her spine from the massive tumors would leave her in intense pain, if she could bare ONE more minute in the floor with her children, she would stay in that floor.

Never go into battle without the power of prayer.
Sarah never made religion "cheesy", she made it real. Her relationship with God was real. When I was so angry and asked her how God could take her from us, she smiled and told me "he has something better lined out for me." That's faith. I picture her in heaven eating Peachy-O's, telling on me for cheating on Words With Friends, and telling others how wonderful her life was. Sarah was the most positive person I've ever met. God knew she was too good for this earth for long. I agree.

You CAN drink beer while on chemo.
I argued this with her on my birthday last year when we were in STL, I said "no", Sarah said "watch me". We toasted my 32nd birthday together.

Sarah White left this world on January 23, 2012. After years of fighting, rounds of chemo, pain, surgery after surgery, procedures, stitches, staples, medicine and fractured bones from tumors growing into her spine.
Sarah White won. She won her battle with cancer.
She crossed the finish line of life beaten, battered, bruised and exhausted at the throne of God...Sarah White left this world all used up. She won.
This is what I posted the day of Sarah's funeral, and I still feel the same:
I'm not saying goodbye to Sarah, I'm saying goodbye to her tiny, cancer ridden body.  I'm saying goodbye to her cancer, her tumors, the chemo, and medications. I'm not burying my friend, I'm burying her sadness, pain, and suffering. My Sarah isn't dead, her body is dead. My Sarah is alive, she is alive in my heart, and the hearts of everyone who loved her. Her touch on my life and her impact on my soul is alive and well.
I love you Sarah, save me a seat. I'll bring the lip gloss.  
No. More. Cancer