Category Archives: cancer

BFF: IX

By: Mia L. Hazlett
4/13/13

“Could you please just answer my question?  Do you believe in God?  Better yet, are you a Christian?”  Her avoidance was beginning to irritate me. A simple yes or no is all I needed to hear and we could move on.

“Honestly Mrs. Devins that is a very personal question which is irrelevant to our discussion.  I would really like to stay on track about your treatment,” the doctor shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

It amazed me she found my questions personal.  Over the past three weeks, we had shared the most intimate conversations about every aspect of not only my medical history, but of every woman in my family.  Every private detail about the current state of my body was spelled out in the little labeled manila folder she kept glancing at before she would ask me very “personal” questions.

She just didn’t get it.  I needed to be reassured that she didn’t think she was God.  I needed her to know that I wasn’t leaving my life in her hands, but I was praying to God to deliver an optimal outcome.  God was a huge part of my life and now I was supposed to put Him on the back burner to make sure she felt comfortable.  She looked at this as “treatment”, I perceived this “discussion” as my life.  My cancer treatment would alter my life forever.

I wasn’t requesting her to go through this treatment with me.  I’m not some religious zealot that was going to deny medical treatment and rely completely on prayer.  I just needed to know that through however long this treatment was going to take, she would respect my prayers to take precedent over medicine when I needed it to.

The point is, I’m scared.  I don’t know the outcome of all of this and neither does she. If it’s God’s will to take me home, I have to accept it somehow.  These are the conversations I’ve been having with Him since I was diagnosed.  Anger creeps in every now and again, but for the most part, I must remain faithful that He is in control.  So as irrelevant as she may find my simple question, she needs to understand she’s not in control.  She can squirm and shift all she wants in that chair, but I’m not leaving here without a yes or no.

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BFF VII

BFF VII
By: Mia L. Hazlett
4/5/11

“So how did you find out?” I asked Kay as we sat on her couch.

“The routine shit. I went in and had my pap. I thought nothing of it until I got a call to come in. I went into the office and she told me my pap came back abnormal. I asked what that meant? And she gave me some bullshit about ‘it’s really nothing to worry about, we just want to get a blood test.'”

“So she told you not to worry?”

“Yup, all casual. I gave the blood and left. I honestly didn’t think about it. I really didn’t start getting concerned until they called me in again. So I go in and then they start asking me a series of questions about symptoms. The shitty thing about it, I have like almost every possible symptom, but I thought it was just stress from the four different projects I’m working on at work.”

“Well what are they? Do you still have them? Sorry girl. That was stupid. That was so stupid. I don’t know, I just think you know… well you know…”

“Becky, I need you to do me a favor? You and Rick are going to have to get me through this. One of the things you’re going to have to get used to saying is cancer. I need you to be able to say it. I’ve thought about nothing but, for over a month now. And I can’t take you apologizing for everything that you say either. You have never apologized for anything for all of the years we have been friends, please don’t change on me now. It’s me Beck. I only have a month on you on this. And trust me, besides finally knowing that I have cancer, that’s it. Promise me you’ll learn about this with me?”

We were both crying by the time I scooted over and hugged Kay. “I promise Kay. I promise we will learn and go through this together. If I could switch places with you…”

“And you can’t say stupid shit like that. You should never want to have cancer. Shit, I don’t want cancer. So don’t say you would switch places with me. That’s just not the right thing to say. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

“Well now I can’t even apologize,” we broke into laughter for the first time that night. “And may I please point out something to you?” I held Kay’s hand.

“What would that be?”

“You have been dropping the S-bomb all night. You rarely swear, if ever. I’m just pointing that out, since we are talking about not changing.

“I’m angry Becky. I’m really angry. I’ve spent an entire lifetime being good and doing the right thing as much as possible. And for all the right moves, I have cancer. So I’m going to give myself a little treat as I get myself through this, I’m going to swear whenever I feel like it. So on the count of three at the top of your lungs, do it with me, one, two, three…”

“SHIT!” we yelled.

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BFF VI

BFF VI
By: Mia L. Hazlett
3/31/11

I wasn’t sure if I showed my utter devastation, but that’s exactly how I felt. I was absolutely devastated by what Kay just told me. But this was so far from being about me. My feelings didn’t matter. My thoughts didn’t matter. Nothing about me mattered right now. I just had to focus on my friend who was weeping in my arms as we stood in the restaurant’s bathroom.

This is exactly the release I needed. The journey was just beginning, but crying in Becky’s arms made this journey possible. Although the stakes are my life on this one, this moment brought me back to junior high. Jason Fegal, my seventh grade “date” to my first dance. He didn’t know he was there with me. We arrived separately and I had never formally asked him or anything. But someone had heard he liked me and they told Becky.

That’s all we needed. We knew the dance was coming up in a week. Our mothers got involved and we were allowed to buy new dresses. Not full make-up, but we were permitted to wear nail polish and lip gloss. You would have thought we were going to the prom the way our mothers carried on that night with all of the pictures. They dropped us off and as soon as we walked into that dance, we were on Jason patrol. He didn’t show up for another hour.

I remember standing around a corner against a wall with Becky, trying to figure out what she was going to say him. Obviously I couldn’t speak with him. Junior high rules: your best friend is in charge of getting the boys you like to like you. I can’t recall what we came up with for her to say, but I can remember them speaking clear as day and the feeling of wanting to die when she pointed at me. He and I caught eyes and I maturely ran into the hallway. Had I stayed, I would have witnessed Becky pushing him to the ground.

We went to the bathroom and she told me he already had a girlfriend that went to another school. I broke into tears and cried my little heart out in her comforting hug. She called him every name she could think of and I couldn’t understand why she was so upset. I later learned about the push and he didn’t have a girlfriend, but had called me ugly.

Now we stood in that same embrace in a little restaurant bathroom. Becky was calling the doctors and biopsy results everything she could think of. And just like that night at the dance, “Don’t worry Kay, we are going to knock this cancer on its ass.”

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BFF V

BFF V
By: Mia L. Hazlett
3/23/11

Lunch with my BFF. Yay! It had been almost a week since I’d seen Kay. I think she is pregnant. She had slipped up in a few conversations over the past couple of months with mention of doctors’ appointments. A few years ago she had a miscarriage, so I respected if she wanted to keep this one little secret under wraps until she felt comfortable telling me. They took about a year off after that, but I knew they’d been trying ever since. I prayed for them all the time. But like she said last night on the phone, she had some news for me. Yay! Finally.

Lunch with Becky. I’d been rehearsing every moment, since I invited her out to the restaurant around the corner from her job. Knowing her, she probably thinks I’m pregnant. I knew I’d slipped up about some of the doctors’ appointments. But I knew her, she was not going to say anything because of my miscarriage. Through all of my rehearsals, I’d found there was no happy positive way to tell your lifelong friend you have cancer. I mean, I hadn’t even accepted it yet, but I needed my BFF to help me. If I didn’t tell her now, I wouldn’t make it through this week.

Look at my girl. She looked so beautiful, a little tired maybe, but beautiful nonetheless. And she was not showing one bit. I always knew she would be one of those skinny pregnant woman. I hated her so much. I’d probably gain all the sympathy weight why she’d lose weight. This was what being best friends was all about, I thought as I sat down at the table and sipped on my ginger ale with no ice and lime wedge that she had ordered me. She knew my drink, while my husband always messed it up.

I had to do my best to keep my tears away as I waved her over to the table. Just by looking at her I could tell she is expecting happy baby news. She didn’t even know I was about to drastically change both of our lives. The thing about being best friends was you feel the joys and pains of each other. You also try and spare each other pain. In this case, I was setting my pride aside and clinging to the only person in this world that would be able to share in my pain. In our lifetime together we had promised we would always use “we” instead of “I” if something happened to one of us. Because we both agreed, if it happened to one of us, it happened to both of us.

I took both of her hands in mine and she postured herself for the baby news. Her smile slowly fell as I finally let my tears flow. “Becky, we have cancer.”

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BFF IV

BFF IV
By: Mia L. Hazlett
3/2/11

My best friend, Rebecca. I loved that woman. She was the only person that could complete my sentences, go to the store a month after me and buy the same exact dress and not know I already have it, and most of all she knew my heart and protected it better than I did at times. I couldn’t think of the past 28 years being any different. She was the love of my life, the only person outside my family, that had known me almost my whole life and still wanted to be my friend.

The history that Becky and I shared was something that my husband couldn’t seem to get passed. Well maybe not just my husband, but Becky’s husband too. I will say at the very least Becky’s husband reached out and became my friend. So while he hated the fact that I knew everything about his life, he also understood that I wasn’t going anywhere and my advice didn’t always work in my friend’s favor.

I guess the problem I had was that my husband really didn’t do any outreach to Becky. He felt the same way her husband felt about our relationship, but I’m not sure that he could get passed his jealousy to reach out to my friend. One of the pacts Becky and I made in our childhood was that boys stink. As we got approached our teens, there was a boy that liked both of us. He got us to stop calling each other for a whole three days. From that point on, we promised no boy was more important than our friendship. Those three days will be held as the longest we’ve gone without speaking to each other.

The other promise we swore to each other was to never keep a secret. I think we both tried and failed at achieving any sort of promise to ourselves or others. Most people who told us not to tell anyone, would always receive my honesty that I would most likely tell Becky. Some shared, some didn’t, but at least they knew not even their deepest darkest secret would make me break my promise to my BFF.

Now I sat in my bedroom wondering how I had gone a week and at least six phone conversations without sharing the news of what my doctor told me three days ago. This was one time in their lives that my husband and Becky had reversed roles in my life. My husband has been there for me the past month as I’ve gone through all these tests. And now I think he was understanding why he didn’t want to be my best friend. It was a huge responsibility. He continued to ask me if I told Becky yet. I told him I wanted to wait for the results. And now, three days ago-the results, and I still hadn’t told her. How could I tell her I have cancer?

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