I’m still here.

A few weeks ago, I lost my friend Jordan. He was going through treatment for cancer at the same time as me, and we really leaned on each other and talked through all our hopes and fears while enduring difficult treatment. I was on Adriamycin and Cytoxan, plus a bunch of steroids and antinausea drugs. He was on all that and then some. He was having a rough go of it, but then he seemed to find an easier patch once they revised his diagnosis and put him on another protocol. I was hopeful, and so was he. We were planning to have a post-chemo party in November before my surgery. He only had 3 treatments left, and everything seemed to be going in the right direction.

Then it all went wrong. He died of septic shock. I found out 4 days after he was gone, and it gutted me. For at least a week, I couldn’t think of anything else. I wanted to give up. But then I heard his voice. I mean I really heard it. He said, “Don’t you give up, kid. You’re strong and positive, and you know I’m in your corner.” And I know he is. I feel his presence when I am feeling low. I feel it when I’m undergoing treatment. The funny thing is, we never met in person.

He worked with my son and mentored him. We became friends over Facebook and bonded. He mentored me when I was studying Judaism and when I was fighting to get healthy again (training for a 5K). Then we both got diagnosed with cancer. Our friendship took on a new dimension. I wanted to visit, but we were both immunocompromised and it would have been a bad idea. So we visited over Zoom and FaceTime. He met a bunch of my friends, because I started a Virtual Chemo Buddies group so that folks could offer funny stories, jokes, memes, songs, and general support – and they could feel connected though they couldn’t go with me to treatment. They welcomed Jordan with open hearts. He friended some of them on Facebook. We shared our progress.

I last wrote him the day before he died. I was worried because I hadn’t heard from him in over a week. Five days later, I got really concerned. I went to his Facebook page and saw the news. It was a terrible shock. Sean and I couldn’t believe it. I cried my eyes out.

I’m still gutted, to be honest. I miss my chemo buddy. I miss my friend.

But I am staying as positive as I can while still acknowledging the fact that ANYTHING can happen. I’m trying to be prepared, including buying a book called, “I’m dead. Now what?” I’ll put all my particulars in there for Sean. I also have an advanced directive in place. Not being married, I need to speak to an attorney about maybe setting up a trust for my house and other investments so that Sean doesn’t have to fight it out in probate. But I’m hoping all of this preparation ends up being for naught. I’d like to stick around.

Jordan was the happiest, most positive person I knew. I miss him.

Here is a little something I put together today – 4 hours of treatment condensed into 12 minutes to show you what it’s like to get chemo. I’m one of the lucky ones who handles it really well. Most of the other patients around me do, too. But some, not so much. Anyway, if you’re curious, have a look.

Peace, J

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