Inspired by a Friend’s Spirit by Carol

My friend has a very rare slow moving form of cancer for 20 years. Her attitude about life is that she is going to live, no matter what. Nothing is going to stop her. She happens to also be married to a man that fully supports her and as such, these two are quite heroic to me.

They work at the same company, and have worked out an employment agreement to travel to a warmer climate about 2 to 3 times a year for healing purposes. For years, they have been sailing in the south, renting boats and asking friends to join them, share in the expense but more importantly, their dream and experience of sailing.

I joined them on one of their adventures figuring, if she can do it, anybody can. She is truly positive about life and a great influence while fighting for her life every day. Ironically, to look at her, one would think she is in good health, has a head full of hair, works with her hubby tirelessly to serve all her guests on board, has a strength that can outshine any healthy person and is simply quite beautiful.

Before embarking on the adventure and because of my chronic crohn’s/colitis condition, I was managing some symptoms prior to the trip: just usual IBD stuff. During these times, I tend to be less adventurous with food.

As the sailing days unfolded, so did signs of healing. As such, I dared to eat what the hosts served, not to mention, they are both awesome cooks. On one of the nights, they served pork ribs. I avoid meat, as for some IBD patients, meat can trigger a bad reaction more often that not. But, I remembered my crohn’s friend from Florida telling me that pork is healing for her, so I ate it in her honor. Boy, was it ever a feast for the taste buds!!

Well, so much for pork!! It was like clock work, a familiar reaction to last 48 hours. It started the next day with belching distention, discomfort and pain. Since I just had a bad day, I opted to stay behind while my sailing buddies went on land to a restaurant for super. I ate simple stuff on the boat that evening and the morning after that was a surprised, even to me.

I did not expect to bleed to the level that I did. Imagine putting a bottle of red wine down the “john” It’s impossible to predict what will trigger a reaction. On any other given day, the same food could reap no reaction at all. When a reaction does happen, rather than blame “me” for eating “that” food or for eating at all, I blame the illness. It really helps to have this attitude.

As such, I ride the episode out and follow whatever advice I’ve been told by doctors. Besides, this reaction pales in comparison to what can happen if my crohn’s/colitis thing gets out of control. For years, life used to be a daily dose of 24/7 intense and terrible symptoms, no description required, but dangerously painfully worse. So, my current symptoms are pretty good, relatively painless and as such, am extremely grateful and thankful. Medications for me are one daily pill and one injection every 2 weeks. IBD is a chronic condition, not cancer.

My cancer friend is truly an inspiration. Every day she takes over 30 pills, one of them is a chemotherapy pill that gives her so much pain. In fact, she never felt pain from her cancer, only from the treatment. For 20 years and still counting, she endures severe painful insufferable complications due to strong medications.

Despite these obstacles, she and her hubby still live life to the fullest and make all her dreams a reality. She wants to see her children get married and someday meet her grandchildren. Her positive outlook while facing death every day is infectious. I can’t imagine what it is like to walk in her shoes, but I can be on board with her positive outlook. To both of you, Live Long, Prosper, Cheers and Thank You for sharing your Sailing Adventures.

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Posted in Coping, Friendship, family, hope.

Posted on 25 Feb 2013, by Carol

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3 comments to Inspired by a Friend’s Spirit by Carol

  1. Barry Hingley
    On Feb 26th 2013 at 02:44

    Thanks for your great story!People like your friend are truly amazing!One friend has had seventeen surgeries over 24yrs!Yet she gives Doc’s &Nurses&all visitors -lift!Truly-gift to everyone who knows such quality friends!!!I call those-Angels amoung us!Here on earth!!!

  2. Sylvie Bouchard
    On Feb 27th 2013 at 15:07

    Thank you Carol for sharing such a great story ! Your friend’s spirit is truly an inspiration for us all.

  3. Carol
    On Apr 26th 2013 at 13:56


    Just saw your note today. No apologies needed and trust you wintered well?
    Hugs and Kisses