the big C strikes again

When my phone rang at 7:30am last Thursday, I wasn’t surprised to hear my best friend’s voice on the other line; most of our conversations happen early in the morning when she is driving to work. What did take me by surprise were the words that came out of her mouth.

“I have cancer.”

I have heard those words leave the lips of both my dad and my sister Marci, plus far too many family friends. But this time, it was My Girl. My best friend of twenty years who is my rock and my guidepost. My fellow lover of all things musical theatre and the reason I love Janis Joplin. A healthy, successful, active woman, wife and mom of two young children who is only one month my senior. Her words did not compute.

My body froze but my mouth was able to move enough to utter the word,


“I have liver cancer.”

I wanted to sob but I pulled myself together as I knew the last thing she needed was a blubbering basket case on the other end of the line.

I asked a few more questions and as she continued with the not-so-pleasant details, it did not sound good. In fact, she made me promise to not look up her rare form of cancer on the Internet because it would tell me she only had six months to live.

Her words, still, did not compute.

She remained strong and calm throughout the conversation. I gained strength from her positive attitude, just as I have for the past twenty years and I fought off every instinct to fear the worst. If there is anyone in the world that can beat the insidious beast known as cancer, it is her.

This past Friday I received an email from her with the subject line “Good News.” I’ve never clicked a link so quickly in my life. Apparently the original diagnosis was incorrect and although it is definitely cancer, it is a different, more treatable form. Good news indeed.

As “replies to all” came flying into my inbox with messages from her other friends, I noticed many of them making reference to a get together on Saturday night. I immediately called one of our other friends to find out what the gathering was, found out they were all going out to dinner together and twenty minutes later I had rearranged my schedule for the weekend and had a ticket booked to San Francisco so I could surprise her. I also called our other friend who lives in LA and she immediately booked a flight too.

One day later I was hugging her in person, celebrating her good news and having heart to hearts about The Big C. It was surreal, to say the least, but it was comforting face-to-face time that I think we both needed.

It still does not compute, however, seeing her on Saturday made me even more confident that she is going to beat this thing. Her tenacity, determination and overall positive attitude are more than half the battle. It’s a battle I wish she didn’t have to fight, but one I know she is going to win.

A new chapter is beginning and while we wait for the happy ending to unfold, I ask that you, my dear Readers, keep her in your prayers (if you’re the praying type) and send all the positive vibes you can muster her way.



  1. 1
    theresa says:

    I’m sorry!!! So sorry!!! Sending I huge hug your way.

  2. 2
    Chelsea says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend, Mary. I’ll be praying for her!

  3. 3
    andrea says:

    What a great friend you are to hop on a plane so quickly! I hope she recovers quickly!


  4. 4
    Candice says:

    You not bawling is the strongest thing you could’ve done. I can’t say I’d be able to do the same. You are incredible and I hope to every faith healing being that it is all in the past very soon for you and your friend.

  5. 5
    wendy says:

    You are a great friend! She will beat this!! From one survivor to another, tell her to stay positive and that “death is not an option!”

  6. 6
    Chandra says:

    I’m so sorry! When I read liver cancer, the first thing that went through my mind was God please don’t let it be the kind my dad had. Then when you wrote that it was rare, my heart sank. He was 93 days from diagnosis til the end. I’m so glad her type came back differently. Marci is definitely in my prayers. Stay strong my friend.

  7. 7
    Chandra says:

    Oops I wrote your sister’s name…would like to blame that on my iPhone typing skills, but it’s more the fact this touched so close to home and I sit here in the car crying after dropping Liv off at preschool.

    • Mary says:

      Oh Chandra, I am thinking of you girl. There will be more moments like that but they get better with time, I promise. Love to you and your family. And thanks for your well-wishes for Amy.

  8. 8
    Jenny Burt says:

    Mary, please give Amy my love and I will definitely pray for her. I will always remember our time in Paris with the three of us. Give yourself a hug too. I know you need one.
    Love your sis, Jenny

  9. 9

    So glad you had a chance to see Amy this weekend.
    I’m thinking/praying/vibe-ing all the positivity I can.

  10. 10
    April says:

    huge interwebs hug coming your way. I am all misty just reading this. You are one strong woman. Best of luck to your bestie.

  11. 11
    Crystal says:

    You are so awesome Mary! That’s what friendship is right there. Praying that she kicks the big C’s mother effin a$$.

  12. 12

    I surely will be praying – sounds like she’s got a great supporting soul sister in you!

  13. 13
    Mary says:

    Thanks friends for all of your support and love. Amy will definitely benefit from all the good vibes and prayers. xoxoxo

  14. 14
    Natalie says:

    Sending prayers and good vibes your way. Someday I hope we can tame the evil monster that is cancer.

  15. 15
    Stefanie says:

    Done and done. And lots of positive energy being sent her way too.

  16. 16

    OMG Mary, I am so sorry that this has happened. I am sitting here in a little cafe in Flagstaff wiping away my tears, both because I can only imagine what it must feel like, but then because I was happy to hear it was somewhat an incorrect diagnosis. She is luck to have you as a friend

  17. 17

    I can’t imagine how you must feel. A best friend is a rare friend. I will pray for her, her family and your family. Be encouraged, this is not a pleasant journey, but one with a road map.

  18. 18
    Sarah says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend! Sending prayers and positive thoughts for both of you! Thanks for stopping by my site.

    Stopping by from SITS

  19. 19
    Ramona says:

    Did you grow up Catholic? It’s time to pray to St. Jude -. You pray to him for 9 nights along with 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Mary’s and he is known to make miracles happen…My Mom was a big believer in him – and so am I…..I am also a big believer in a second opinions – Tyler’s Dad was misdiagnosed with brain cancer – turned out it was MS – I will be thinking of you and keeping your friend in my prayers….

  20. 20
    Amy says:

    My sister-in-law was just diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form. It is painful and tragic but so incredibly inevitable. I’m so glad your friend did not end up having the rare form of liver cancer. She sounds like a amazing woman. thoughts and prayers are with both of you at this time.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you for the well wishes Amy. I am sorry to hear about your sister-in-law! I will keep her in my prayers too!

  21. 21
    J-RO says:

    Prayers sent mary!

  22. 22

    […] to home on many levels. Almost exactly one year ago, I received the call, from my best friend, the “I have cancer” call. Prior to that I had witnessed my dad and a sister both succumb to cancer, so cancer is not a […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>