Cancer has reared it's ugly head again in my life and claimed another person close to me. Just when I thought the year was looking up . . . I was cancer-free, on the road to recovery from surgeries, and feeling in good health. Then I get some heartbreaking news that a dear friend has only months to live. At first I couldn't believe it. How could his time be limited? He's only 33 years old and CAN'T be dying from a brain tumor!
I've know Jimmy since I was 5 years old, when we first started school. We grew up together, had the same friends, and were even high school sweethearts. Even though we ended our romantic relationship after college, we still remained close friends and would always have that love for one another. After all, how could you stop caring about someone who has been such a major part of your life growing up? When I first found out 5 years ago that he was diagnosed with brain cancer it was like a shot in the gut. I couldn't breathe, couldn't think, couldn't focus. I kept wondering, how could this be? We're too young for cancer! The doctors were able to operate and remove most of the tumor and with chemo and radiation he was on track to getting better. But there was always going to be that chance that the tumor would grow again.
We all heard the words . . . "the cancer will come back" . . . but I don't think any of us REALLY understood EXACTLY what that meant. This year when it did come back and it was aparent that there was nothing more that the doctors could do I was in disbelief. Just two months earlier we were talking about how we were going to walk the survivors lap together in the Realy for Life that next year. We had talked about how strange it was that we both ended up with cancer but he was the one who helped me through my treatment, having gone through it himself.
I still find myself asking why. Why him, why so early in life, why, why, why. These questions will never be answered, I know that. But what I do hang on to are the memories of him and the time we spent together growing up.
James E. Beckwith, you will be in my heart always!