pink ink

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming for an episode of “Woman on the Verge of a …Rant”! Sometimes you just have to take pause. Life in the Cancer lane is teaching me to express, release and stay positive. This is my effort.

If you know me well, you know that I am a “friend-chick”. I like women and having friends. I don’t have a blood sister or any girl cousins. I didn’t have a significant number of close black girlfriends until I got to college, and it hasn’t been the same since! Love me some sista-friends!

I am a Cultivator, meaning I regard friendships with great value. I nurture friendships and initiate communication/interaction. I am also a Harvester. I have an inner circle of friends, within my larger group. My husband calls me a “friend pimp” because I “collect” 2 or 3 life long friends in each place we live. Iris, Ing, Tracey (Cancer Mentor) et al, you know who you are. These folks will be my friends no matter where we live.

The other side to being a “friend chick” is that I have high expectations of my friends. This can sometimes be a problem. Mind you, I do not expect to speak to you every week, or even every month. I don’t expect birthday gifts. I have become a much better friend over the years (less judgmental, very loyal) I work hard on my friendships. If you know me well, you know that my friendship pet peeve is when I speak on the phone with someone, and they don’t ask about me and what’s going on in my world. Narcissistic? Au contraire. I make it a point to ask each time about my friends’ lives. Again, hubby often says, “let it go”. Don’t hold others to your standards. So I am working on that…kind of.

Alas, Life in the Cancer Lane is providing teaching moments.

I have GREAT friends! I have friends who are closer to me than family! I have friends whom I miss every day because we are 2000 miles apart. But this journey has shown me the various kinds of friends I have. Sometimes putting me on the verge…

Example: In slowly sharing this blog, we have received great, and encouraging feedback. We did not expect everyone to like or appreciate it. However, in the last 2 days, I have had two close friends respond with some version of “I didn’t know you were that close to her” or “How come I have never met her”? That’s it. Nothing about the blog! Just challenging the friendship. REALLY!? Now, I have already addressed this with them, so I am putting them on blast with their knowledge. (‘Cause that’s what friends do!) But really?

This was not the 1st time I have been surprised during this process. My Cancer Mentor has told me many times I will lose and make friends during this process! One of her closest friendships was altered forever b/c of the other’s mental absence during the process. I have friends who I deem in the “inner circle” that have yet to call and talk to me. Others, who when we do speak, ask me “how are you”, but quickly move on to other topics. These people never ask details. Another, who told a mutual friend, “I sent a card, she knows I know. So I am good”. And finally, others who have never reached out, texted, called, emailed etc. Are these really friends, you may ask. Yes, these are people who until now, were ever present. Everyone deals with things differently. But I am not going to lie, it has hurt! Again, if you don’t want to hear about me vomiting, I get it. But don’t act like I am already “gone”. Please don’t act like this is no big deal. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me. If you can’t talk about it, tell me.

On the flip side, I have been so moved by the outpouring from friends as well. Folks I didn’t think would care have been phenomenal! Others just know what to say or do. One good friend sends the cutest cards, once a week! They make me laugh and look forward to seeing her. (Hey JC!) Others call my “sis” to see how she is doing! Some folks text on chemo days, just to “shout out” wishes of “good luck”. My husband’s frat brothers, despite being men, check on him regularly with REAL inquiry. By that I mean it’s not “Hey Frat, what’s up?” and when he says, “It’s all good” they turn to sports. No, they actually ask questions, allow him to say whatever it is guys say! Local frat take him out to eat, drink or golf. My Cancer Mentor and I have gone from being good acquaintances to close friends in 60 seconds! She is a sounding board, source of information, and source of comedy and happiness. My lil sis/bestie took a “flat Barb” doll to France with her and took pictures of Flat Barb all over the place, and sent them to me. Paris is my fave city, so that meant more to me than any card could have. My “new friends” in my current city have stepped in and taken care of my baby girl, when I couldn’t get her from the bus stop. They have taken me out, just to continue our tradition of vino and convo. (Even if I couldn’t imbibe) My college roommate and her mom have been great with calls, cards, and texts. One of my tight girls in NY sent me a “chemo” bag full of stuff that I didn’t even know I needed! On top of that she knows/appreciates my love/need/obsession with pop culture and regularly texts or emails so I can dish on why Beyonce is crazy and needs to go away until she has that dang baby, or the latest episode of Beverly Hills Housewives or Glee. Others have offered to fly in…and not just visit…but take me to chemo, clean up vomit, or play with baby girl. Just examples. I could go on and on about the prayers, and good wishes that have come my way from across the globe.

So I am blessed with many great, fantastic, loving friends! It’s just that sometimes, you get pushed to the verge. So I call my sis, vent, roll my eyes, and say, “can you believe that” a few times. Or I write a blog!

And then I move on.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming…

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