Thursday, 13 January 2011

My courageous friend

I woke up with a kink in my neck this morning. I guess I didn't sleep too well last night after a night out with my friend Yvonne. But what is a little discomfort compared to the ordeal Yvonne is going through?

We met more than 10 years ago. She was then a very pretty young lady working in a travel agency. She was so patient and nice, she quickly became a good friend. We even went on a holiday to Thailand together. We had so much fun, it was one of my most memorable trips.

We stayed in touch over the years. When she didn't turn up for our dinner date one evening in 2006, I realised she was in the hospital after suffering from a seizure (her first) the night before. Luckily her mum rushed her to the hospital in time and she escaped serious brain damage.

Then in 2008, she was diagnosed with brain cancer, treated for it and given the all clear. Sadly the cancer returned again in July last year. Days before her surgery, we spent the 4th of July watching fireworks together.

I met her after her surgery. She appeared cheerful and full of life as always. I thought she was on the road to recovery. What I read in the papers on Christmas Eve shocked me. Doctors have told her that she might live for another year or two.

While everyone was out partying on Christmas eve, she was undergoing chemotherapy at the cancer centre. I felt so sad for my once vivacious friend. It was a sobering experience for me. How can I go on splurging and feasting when my friend is fighting so hard to stay alive?

I wanted to meet her, but was worried that she might be too tired or ill to go out. Her quick reply surprised me. "Yes, let's meet!! How about this week? :-)"

When I met her and her boyfriend Joe yesterday, she was her usual bubbly self. Just two days ago, she was admitted to the hospital for another seizure. Luckily it wasn't serious and she was discharged quickly.

Looking at her, one really can't help but admire her courage and strength. She said she has found peace with her illness. I, on the other hand, couldn't help holding back my tears when I saw how sweet the couple is. According to her, Joe is like God's Angel. He is her pillar of strength, and he keeps her spirits up. I could see that the love between them is so strong.

She revealed that the chemo sessions usually leave her feeling so ill, she couldn't even get out of bed, let alone find the strength to stomach any food. Obviously, yesterday was one of her good days. While she didn't eat much, she remained enthusiastic throughout dinner. We even went around Serangoon Gardens in search of desserts.

It turned out to be a fun outing for us all. I must admit there were some delicate moments. She wanted to know what lies ahead for us (CH and me) and what resolutions we have made. While I can be quite a chatterbox but talking about our future was one of the hardest things to do yesterday.

When we parted last night, all I could do was give her a very tight hug and pray that everything will be alright. Then I watched her and Joe bound up the stairs gleefully like kids in love. I couldn't bear to leave.

6 comments:

waterlearner said...

Oh, she's the one that the church put up a play of her life. She looks so young.

Then again, I guess it's the quanlity of life that counts. Not its length.

JY said...

We can all learn from your friend...

Amel said...

WOAH, this is quite a flip from the wedding post. There's nothing like death and serious illness to make us think of our priorities and perspective of life.

She's an admirable woman. I'm sure she'll spend the rest of her days fully, knowing how much spirit and strength she has.

Nick Phillips said...

What strength she has.

The World According To Me said...

What spirit and strength, and luckily lots of love, your friend has. I always feel guilty for moaning about small stuff when I hear stories such as this. I prayer for lots of bright, pain free, days for her.

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