I have a friend. I’ll call her Shirley. Actually, her name really is Shirley. I know her through a group of runner-friends who came together years ago when all of them were planning to run the Las Vegas Marathon. They formed one of those hard-to-describe friendship bonds. That’s how I know Shirley. We have interacted primarily through social media. I always read her posts, and I think she reads mine. I’ve always felt a bond with her.
Shirley is well-traveled. When I announced a few months ago, that I was going to India, she wrote and wrote suggestions. Her love for travel and India, in particular, shone through. Speaking of shining, you can just tell she is that kind of person. No attitude, no bullshit, just a good person who’s unique, giving, loved and fun.
Shirley also loves to run. She has “streaked” – i.e., ran each and every day – since 2011. She is very proud of that! Shirley’s daily Facebook streak entries are part of my daily existence.
Shirley’s streak abruptly ended a few months ago when a Colonoscopy revealed colon cancer. Shirley started a blog to document her battle. That’s when many of her runner friends decided to continue the streak, Shirley’s Streak, by Streaking for Shirley.
The colon surgery seemed to go pretty well, but not as well as hoped – unfortunately, the tests revealed some spread to the lymph nodes, which would require chemo. That was the news through Friday. Not good, but … what can I say?
This morning I noticed a new post by Shirley. I read it with disbelief. I can’t stop shaking my head. Tears keep welling in my eyes. You see, Shirley was ill this weekend. Her husband took her to the doctor. Long story short (and how can a story such as this ever be short?), she was taken to the Emergency Room at a hospital in Ontario, Canada and an Emergency CT Scan was performed. Three tumors in her brain were found. Three fucking tumors. This is horrific. She awaits surgery this week.
My heart aches. My heart breaks for this incredible woman and her family. She has an amazing and resilient spirit, and I know she will defy prognosis with years rather than months. It just seems so stupid and futile to try to think of blog topics at times like this. So frivolous. But, I guess blogging when it comes down to it, is just writing. And writing is my way of working through my thoughts – which at this moment are more focused on anguish than on travel and running. It will change. I will channel that energy in a positive direction – to run in honor of Shirley, to streak for her, to continue my travels and maybe see some of the sights through her eyes.