03/24/15; 06:49:16 PM

Today I have 3 friends at MDAnderson in Houston.

Scott.

  • I met Scott online. I asked a question on Twitter about Crossfit. He answered. We discovered a handful of mutual online friends thanks to how small the WordPress community is. A few months later he passed out following one of his workouts and they discovered brain cancer. They operated. He recovered. Then they actually moved to Texas so now I consider us not only online friends - but also neighbors - and I've enjoyed getting to know him and his wife via IG and Twitter.

  • One full year of chemo - with no side effects - and in February of 2015 he celebrated having beat the disease.

  • Last week he started having numbness in the left side of his body. Two days ago they found a new tumor. Unoperable. He posted the scans from MDAnderson.

  • He has a wife and 4 kids. Is in better shape than 99% of people I know. He's an amazing survivor; I've never read any public statement with even a hint of victimization. He's going to beat this. I just know he is. He just has to.

Linda.

  • I bought my second house from Linda and her husband Mike. My ex-husband still lives there. Over the years Linda became like an aunt --- or even -- like a mother--- to me. Although I think of her more like a dear dear friend. I guess technically she's old enough to be my mom but she's one of my favorite people to hang out with. She's optimistic. She's vivacious. She's a dare-devil! We had plans to sky dive together this May in celebration of my oldest son's 18th birthday.

  • Today she is at MDAnderson having the last of the inflammatory breast cancer removed. She's already had a mastectomy on one side and they found more cancer afterwards. Her heart was damaged by the chemo so they've had to wait 6 months for her heart to get strong enough to handle more chemo and surgery.

  • Her Dr. in San Antonio basically told her they couldn't do anything for her. MDAnderson has an entire department dedicated to Inflammatory Breast Cancer and they're going to beat it. I just know they are.

  • She just has to.

Lesli

  • I met Lesli when I walked Hannah to her new classroom. We were having a tough year. We were dealing with lots of family trauma - to include a new school for all the kids. We turned the corner and there stood Lesli.

  • Standing tall and proud and eager to meet Hannah - she greeted us with her infectious smile and bright shining eyes. But you couldn't mistake the obvious sign of what was on her plate. She was 100% bald and wore a sign around her neck saying she was recovering from cancer and couldn't give hugs.

  • Sure made my harried morning getting all the kids to the new school seem... inconsequential.

  • Lesli was battling Ovarian Cancer. I can't remember all the details but it had been a long battle and she was on the road to recovery. And then - the spring semester came and one day Lesli wasn't there. She wasn't going to be coming back. Her cancer had returned. Hannah and I went to visit her at the local hospital. I even ended up staying one night with her a few months later to help her out following a procedure. She had done SO MUCH for Hannah during the short 6 months that she was her teacher. She was a source of constant joy, a safe place, and a positive force in Hannah's (at the time) very stressful season of life.

  • The next school year Lesli came to my house and celebrated "Mimosa Monday" in which we raised our glasses to the start of a new school year and Lesli's first year fully retired.

  • Shortly thereafter they moved to Houston. To be closer to her family and to continue her treatments at MDAnderson.

  • Last month they found out her sister also is battling cancer. I met her sister Michelle when Lesli was here in the hospital. I thought, when I sat back and listened to Lesli and her sisters chatter and giggle, "I hope that's me and my siblings when we're in our 40's!" They're a wonderful family and it saddens me that this is now on Lesli & her sister's plate.

  • Today she is at MDAnderson getting chemo. I pray she can beat this. She just has to. They just have to.

  • -

I'm 39 and can no longer count on two hands how many people I know who have survived or succumbed to cancer. Knowing that 3 of my friends are at MDAnderson today leaves me feeling a little off kilter.

03/11/15; 10:55:04 AM

Last built: Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 6:53 PM

By Sarah Pressler, Friday, March 6, 2015 at 2:08 AM.