Whilst away at the European Sarcoma Conference I knew something wasn’t right. I think I knew that Tish would be protecting me whilst I was overseas. She fully supported my being involved in conferences, boards, cancer networks etc so wouldn’t want to burden me whilst I was abroad. But I’ve had this dreadful feeling all day. Below is a (long) text message I sent to a friend:
“I need to run something by you. I don’t know that you’ll understand nor that I’ll be able to tell you all I need to say but I need to know I’ve tried and need to know you’ve listened.
You may remember me talking about the ‘champagne and shoe’ girls. A little band of cancer warriors, Kerry, Letitia and I. Kerry and Tish had ovarian cancer and I was introduced to them quite some time ago but we hit a chord and just ‘got it’, ‘got each other’. No matter how bleak a prognosis or indeed how bleak we felt, we’ve been able to spark each other, support one another, have a laugh and look beyond.
This time last year Kerry passed away. I had the call from Tish at this conference in Berlin and my heart broke just a little bit more. Kerry was always so strong. We had a giggle. We both enjoyed bubbles and we also enjoyed the same shoe collection and spent an hour or several trying on new pairs.
But Kerry was truly Tish’s support. They both had the same diagnosis and a similar prognosis. Tish and I have been close this last year and there have been many times when she’s been feeling down or I have, we’ve met up, put the world to rights and left back in our positive places. Some times we’ve not managed to meet but talk by text. Tish has been very poorly but after living her life and going to Australia embraced life once more and foiled the experts with a change in her prognosis once again.
She’s recently taken a turn for the worst and I saw her last a few weeks ago when she was a shadow of her former self but still had a smile and a hug for me.
She was admitted again to hospital a week or so ago and we’ve texted. The last texts written by her 22yo daughter last night.
I don’t know what to do. I’m being told by text that she’s weak but ok. But I fear the worst. Selfishly. Wonder how I’m going to cope without my rock to meet with at my bench or text or talk with. Somehow the world is so much better when Tish makes it better.
I’m so scared and don’t want to be the last champagne and shoe girl here. They both had a husband or daughter in their lives and I don’t. It makes no sense.
I’ve got a couple of missed calls and voicemails on my mobile but my PIN number doesn’t work so can’t pick them up… Please tell me they’re from you?
Not really sure if I’ll send this or if you’ll read it… Or what I want from writing it. I just know I want Tish to prove them all wrong and grow old being cantankerous and naughty with me.”