Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am so blessed

I know I haven't posted in quite awhile now. I have no good excuse, and I will not muddy up this post for my pithy little reasons for laziness. I will save all that for another post.

Many of you know that my dear friend Suzanne has been successfully battling breast cancer for the last 18 months (you can follow her blog here). A few months ago, she had a flare up in her ribs and spine that was treated with radiation. Radiation was successful. However, recently, we have had a huge setback. Last week, an MRI revealed 15 tumors in her brain. She had been on a miracle trial drug, TDM1, but this advancement has kicked her off the trial. She is now on Decadron, Tykerb, and whole brain radiation. At the beginning of this new phase of treatment the doctor warned her that she was going to feel miserable, lose all her hair (which until now she had been able to keep), and not be able to care for her children for about 4 months. Within days, Suzanne began to really feel the effects.

From the moment we learned of her diagnosis, our community has banded together to offer any and all kids of help. One friend set up a website (on Mealtrain) to schedule meals. As of today, this family will have meals halfway through September. Suzanne has been inundated with calls, texts, and emails of well wishes, prayers, and many offerings of help. We are asking anyone and everyone to please pray for her. Jason has written a beautiful guide for a holy hour dedicated to Suzanne's healing. You can find it here. With school quickly approaching, we had one friend offer to do the school supply shopping. For 5 school age kids, that is no small task!

As for my own part in all of this, I have taken on the role of personal assistant. I am handling scheduling, driving when needed, and general help. I have been driving Suzanne to UCLA about once a week for a couple of months now for her treatments. Right now, I am with her far more often, and honestly, I couldn't be happier.

Sounds odd, doesn't it? Hanging out with my (potentially) terminally ill friend is a good time? In reality, it is. Not to say that it isn't difficult, especially seeing her with her children. Sometimes, it will suddenly blindside me that these beautiful children may not have their mother for much longer. But, then I look at the example that she is setting for all of us, and I am overwhelmed with a feeling of being so blessed. Blessed to be her friend, blessed to be able to help her and her family through this difficult time. I know she is concerned about me getting burned out, but I am truly so glad to be able to help her. As difficult as the situation is, Suzanne and her family bring me an incredible amount of joy.

And I'm not scared for her. Obviously, I am praying for a complete healing. But, there is also the harsh reality that she may not be with us by the end of the year. While it brings me grief, I know that the grief is for us here and her children, not for her. She is the most beautiful soul I know, and I have no doubts that she will be in eternal happiness and joy when she leaves this world.

Please forgive me if my posts are sparse over the next few months. God is calling me to be with Suzanne as much as possible, so that's where I will be.


Angela said...

Love this!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Briana. It's exactly how I feel as well. See you tomorrow. Love you, Lori

Bianca said...

Thank you for being such a support to her and the family. I wished I lived closer to be able to help out in anyway. I know I can help through prayer and I will.

Suzanne is a beautiful soul, with lots of fire in the belly, and has immense grace. Truly she is a spiritual leader beyond words; a living saint. I will continue to pray for her and her family.