It’s been a day since my beautiful friend and ‘c sister’ passed away. My heart feels so sad and I already miss you dearly my friend. How do I fight this fight without you?
Helen and myself met in February 2011. Our trial doctor put us into contact with each other seen that we were both so young and positive. We were just about the youngest patients in the unit. I had been fighting the fight at that stage for about 8 – 9 months already. Just on speaking to Helen on the phone I knew we would be great friends – on receiving diagnosis she jumped into fight mode and was as positive as can be. We discovered we were both huge fans of sushi and decided on meeting the very next day over dinner and drinks (my kinda girl) while she ask me questions about the treatment and life in general.
As treatment went by we grew closer and closer chatting every day over blackberry and trying to schedule our chemo's together so we could motivate each other and keep the spirits high. It was so nice to have someone have the same problems as me for once. Our friends were always great support but there was no better person to understand what you were going through other than my breast buddy, Helen.
Helen always lit up a room when she entered - everyone adored her. She helped me with some fundraisers and volunteered where she could to always help other people. She had the most amazing spirit to fight. She often made me look bad with her ‘healthier than thou’ eating habits and her ability to do the Cape Argus Cycle tour. She ran races – she just always seized to amaze me. You would literally have sworn that nothing was wrong with this girl. It’s a bizarre concept to think (and please don’t hate me for thinking this because I know some of you will crap me out) but how is it that I am still here? Aaaaah the memories and times we had together were so amazing. So inspiring...
I am sure you would remember back a few posts about me being at Helen & Alwyns beautiful wedding. In mid December they left for their honeymoon. They were so ecstatic to see their family and go skiing together. A magical white Christmas – the way Helen was used to having Christmas being from Germany. By the sounds of it – they loved it and although Helen struggled a bit, she managed to ski the slopes of the Alps. My wonder woman... Sadly, a couple days before she left to come back home she found that her stomach was a bit swollen and she was in quite a bit of pain. With my own issues I saw her at the Doctor on the Monday. This is the first time I ever saw my friend really go through a rough time. I could tell she was uncomfortable and I could see she was so saddened by her honeymoon ending that way. It was such a shock to see but yet she still acted concerned about me because I had to change chemo’s again. She always thought of other people above herself. That day she was scheduled to have fluid removed from her cavity below her liver. It seemed as if her liver worsened and was seeping some toxins. She went home for a few days to try recuperate but sadly she was back at the doctor that Thursday in some serious pain. She was admitted to hospital for pain, nausea and the fluid in her liver (which was removed again…). It was a shock and suddenly I noticed that Helen wasn't messaging me anymore like we had done every day.
I went to my doctor on that Friday for blood, CT and bone results. Things were getting worse with me too. I needed to get onto something quickly. My mom happened to ask my doctor about Helen (we share the same doctor) where she looked at me and asked me to please try block what is happening to her against myself. She was concerned because Helen was in a rut and wasn't sure if she could fight to get out of it. I broke down in tears because it just seemed like such a hard hitting reality. How could this happen so fast? How could I block the pain and fear that I knew my friend was going through? We were so similar in diagnosis that it just hit so close to home for me.
I decided to go visit Helen on the Sunday where I met her mom, dad and husband. It was tough to see her like that. She was going in and out of consciousness but still tried to fight to get up to go to the loo etc. she was determined! It was incredibly hard to see because my friend and cancer buddy didn't recognise me anymore. She just fell right asleep. Her mom had hoped she would recognise me but sadly she didn't…
I know you’re watching down on me (and everyone else) – I’d like to think of you as my guardian angel. Even without you, your spirit and inspiration will help me through this battle and everyone who knew you will keep you in their hearts – living the Helen way…to seek beauty, love and laughter every day we alive. As hard as it is now to fight this fight without you I imagine you up in heaven smiling down on us, making yourself comfortable and awaiting to be reunited with all your loved ones, one day.
I look at my phone and can’t bring myself to ending our last conversations from just last week. We made a promise to fight no matter what and that one day we would be having a big celebration to celebrate us conquering this disease. One day we will Helli – I’ll have to miss you from afar for now and keep up the ‘helen spirit’. You will never be far from my Heart and Mind.
A special note to Helens husband, Alwyn. Thank you for being the most amazing man to my friend. Thank you for not being judgmental on such a disease and loving Helen regardless – wanting to spend the rest of your lives together no matter what the future had in store. In my own experience it’s extremely tough on the partner to stay so strong and I salute you for being such a knight in shining armour. I am so glad that you shared an amazing time together on honeymoon, creating some great memories.
Rest In Peace my friend – you will always continue to inspire those you left behind…