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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I hope Mandi would like this post.

Though we never met we have many things in common: RV’ng, cooking, family, animals,  work, friends, life itself. She even had her very own Mike. He’s a badass, just like mine.  

We both find our own lumps and are diagnosed with breast cancer just before our birthdays – hers at 31, mine at 46. By the time I discover her blog at Darn Good Lemonade in late 2014, I’m well into chemo and all its horrors. She is well into dealing with her metastic disease process.

It is now my year three post treatment, near where Mandi was upon learning that she was Stage IV, despite the extremely aggressive treatments she had received. Chemo, surgery, radiation. Just like me.

It’s her blog that convinces me to write. Unlike me, Mandi can tell a riveting story with nary a curse word, and make you laugh and sob and rage right along with her. I respect this quality and never could emulate it. But maybe I can tell my story in my own way -- and perhaps help someone through it along the way. It's been a liberating, empowering, incredibly healing thing that probably would never have occurred had I not discovered DGL. 

While breast cancer a terrible diagnosis for any woman, I can’t comprehend having it made at the tender age of 31. Mandi's grace and strength resonate in every post. How to feel self-pity after seeing her photos? They tell their own story, before and after BC:  Mandi in the wild, on another rv trip with Mike and the furbabies. Mandi with friends and family. Mandi cooking. Mandi in her wedding dress, and my favorite: Mandi in a hospital gown, face defiantly beaming at the camera. Fierce and determined. 

Mandi Hudson died this week. It’s hitting much harder than anticipated, though we knew it was coming. Maybe it’s because her blog inspired me so much, or all the things we had in common. Mostly, it feels like I lost a friend.