Erica is one of my best friends and former co-worker. When I first heard that Erica had cervical cancer I can best describe my feelings in one word: sick....... I remember years ago when Erica first learned she had pre-cancerous cells that they would need to watch closely. We were on our way to a PD for work. I remember thinking, "It's okay, they will watch it, treat it, it will never turn into cancer."
Fast forward a couple years and there she was with an actual cervical cancer diagnosis. I was shocked, sick to my stomach, sad, mad, didn't believe it, but the doctors said they could get it and she could still have kids. She was going to beat it, relax.......... Walking through the side effects of the first surgery with her made me realize how strong she was. I never expected to get the call that it was back. How, why, that's not fair......... anger. Watching her battle through chemo/radiation made me love her even more. I worked in a pediatric cancer unit, I've seen what chemo/radiation can do to a person. Erica NEVER let it beat her....She fought hard and kicked cancer's butt. Then it was back.........again.........anger, I felt defeated for her. When will it stop. Spending her 30th Birthday with her in the hospital during a horrendous surgery. I had a broken heart this isn't how my best friend is supposed to have to spend her birthday. As I continue to walk this journey with her I've learned not to expect anything, but just to support.
Things I have done to support her: I listen, I encourage her to be real. She doesn't have to sugar coat stuff for me. I know what cancer can do I cared for enough patients with it. I love her, when she's happy and loving life and when she's just had enough and is pissed. When i visit I try to help around the house or provided meals somehow.
I think that the most difficult part for me is that we were pregnant together, I love Wylee like one of my own. The hardest part for me is knowing that Erica doesn't feel like she is able to give Wylee everything a little boy needs because of her cancer, but what she doesn't know is that she is all he needs whether it's cuddling on the couch or reading books. She is an amazing mom who has taught me so much about loving unconditionally and embracing every moment.
Do you want to know how you can help loved ones go through a diagnosis? Be there to listen, you don't have to have answers. Help with laundry or cleaning the house. Provide gift cards to places to eat or make some freezer meals. Support the person in their advocacy efforts. Send them a text or card to let them know you care. Let them be real.
I have learned more about Erica during this battle. Erica is by far the strongest most determined person I know. She is confident, beautiful, wise and selfless. She is an amazing mom, and unconditional friend and I am blessed to be a part of her life.