One of my best friends in the world, the one I have mentioned as my inspiration for my international length triathlon to raise money for cancer research, Angela King Kinder died Sunday, December 14th at 12:40 am. She is survived by her husband, Bryan; her father, her mother, her sister, and a step-father and many others who loved her very much.
I didn't work out today because I was up last night thinking about her and trying to put the finishing touches on her eulogy and got little sleep. Tonight I'm up making plans for flights, cars, and hotels without it seeming real at all. Everything is a bit numb. We took the girls to Disney today because Megan has been talking about it for almost the entire week without any prodding from us, and we took them to see Santa for the 1st time. (Megan marched right up and sat with him but Amanda who had been chomping at the bit to see him while in line had to be held next to him.) It was fun to see their faces light up, but at the same time it seemed surreal and as though I wasn't truly there. I know Angela would want me to live each day to the fullest, but I guess I just need some time to grieve. The only solace I have is that she is now at peace and is whole again and truly cancer free. But I will miss my dear friend... her emails and calls, and having our mid-life crises together (whenever that will be) as we had always planned. For a long time we talked via email at least once a week, and I will miss her insight and her wit.
Once I have mourned my loss, I will celebrate her life. Her favorite holiday was Halloween and I will be certain to do Halloween up right every year from now on. And at some point, I will take my children to Japan because it was a place that Angela always wanted to visit but did not get a chance to go. And I hope in some way I will be able to spread awareness of sarcoma - the cancer of the connective tissue that in 1/2 of its victims is completely resistent to chemotherapy and radiation - like it was in Angela. There's not alot known about sarcoma because only 10,000 people each year get it in the United States so not much research is done about it. The problem is, that statistically 50% will die and depending on the type of sarcoma you are diagnosed with (in Angela's case high level, undifferentiated sarcoma) you're the ones who will make up that 50%... and many times it's not even diagnosed in time because it's thought it might be another kind of cancer at first. It doesn't have to mestastize to kill either. You have one tumor and have a biopsy done before removing it, and that seems to be enough for this killer to spread. Angela's started with a tumor in her forearm. After a 2nd biopsy, intensive radiation and chemotherapy (which left it unchanged), it was removed. 3 months later it appeared for the 1st time in the lining of her lung. Then a 2nd time. And during the surgery to remove the 2nd lung tumor, as it was being removed it burst. Her chest cavity was flushed with water to remove and cleanse as much as possible, but a short time later another tumor appeared on her lung and one on the connective tissue surrounding her heart. She had a 2nd round of terribly intensive chemotherapy (the 1st was with the one in her forearm and had been coupled with radiation) which did nothing to stop the tumors from growing but made her violently ill (despite the anti-nauseas medicine). When the scans showed that the tumors had continued to grow and that the one on her heart was essentially the size of her heart now, she decided to take the remaining time she had and life it to the fullest she could. She ate sushi at her favorite place (several times), had a peach cobbler a neighbor made her, and spent as much time as she could with her husband. And about 1 month later she passed away. She was so brave in her decision and her only fear was that she would upset those she loved, especially her husband, in wanting to end chemo. But he knew she was in pain and miserable and didn't want to be that way at the end and his love for her supported her decision.
So, as you see, my triathlon training is nothing in comparison to what she and he endure(d). May she rest in peace for eternity. She will live in my heart all my days.
Love to all.