February 16, 2009
There is one less person reading this blog today.
On Friday, my friend Becky passed away from complications related to leukemia. She was 29.
Becky and I lived in the same town, went to the same church, and had kids the same ages. She was pregnant with her third (a girl) at the same time that I was pregnant with Cameron. Our due dates were three weeks apart.
Becky found out that she had leukemia the same week in June (2008) that I found out that I had Fifth Disease and passed the virus on to Cameron. Though vastly different in typology, both diseases attack the bone marrow and blood.
Becky spent the summer as an inpatient at the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. I had to go to the same hospital twice a week for fetal ultrasounds to monitor the status of Cameron's condition. Usually I would stop by Becky's room before or after my appointments. We talked about a lot of things during these visits--RBCs, retics, platelets, transfusions--but mostly we just laughed our heads off about the cruel irony of our fates: she was a sick mom with a healthy baby, I was a healthy mom with a sick baby.
Behind and beneath every conversation was the possibility of loss, but our words never touched directly upon the ugly. Rather than worry about what we might lose, we tried to focus on what we hoped and prayed every day that we would get to keep.
Sadly, Becky lost her baby a short time later.
Becky made it through the tragic loss of her daughter, two rounds of chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant before acquiring an infection that would take her life. While my heart breaks for Becky's parents, her husband, and her two beautiful little boys, I can't help but see this outcome in some way as an answer to two heartfelt prayers. Although not answered in the way either of us expected, in the end both Becky and I got what we wanted: she is with her baby, and I am with mine.