Saving a Stranger

Dear Stranger

Even though we’ve never actually met, I felt as though I knew you personally. We found out around the same time about our cancers. You were 26 then and I was 23. And I’m pretty sure that neither of us expected it and believed that even if we did get diagnosed with cancer at some point of time in our lives, it would have been much later on, when we lived and loved more than we already have.

In another life, I think that we both would have gotten along pretty well. We hate it when people worry and fuss over us and especially hate it to see our families grieving. We’re such competitive overachievers really, achieving in twenty odd years what many take sixty, seventy years achieve.

The cafe is a place that holds a pretty special place in my heart. For the longest time ever my best friend and I heard about the delicious food that you and your team whipped out but never actually stepped in till January 2016. By then I was about to start my chemotherapy regimen and you had probably already started on yours.

Fate has a pretty wicked sense of humour. That was actually the last time I met my now ex best friend, and the irony of it all was not lost on me. Despite going through the challenges of our the ‘A’ Levels, a university education, and starting our first job together, a cancer diagnosis proved too much for our then seven-year friendship to handle. After our last meeting that afternoon, I never saw her again. She stopped texting and soon became a stranger.

I don’t blame her really, especially since people our age are often talking about building their careers and asking their significant other to BTO. The 20-something mind just flinches away making cancer a long and lonely journey.

I came back to the cafe a few times after on my own. Most recently I came to the cafe in May, after running a CT-PET scan across the road. I was there because my team needed the CT-PET to determine if the lesions in my lungs were mets and if cancer was back with more aggression than before.

Don’t worry your team did a fantastic job of ensuring that the waffles were as yummy as ever.

My mind was racing as I spooned the ice cream into my mouth. I was thinking about a lot of things really but mainly about whether I wanted to continue to seek treatment or to give up. Of course I was thinking about you as well, wondering how you were doing. I looked you up on Facebook and found out from your team that you needed quite a number of surgeries.

I thought to myself then that we’re really lucky huh. We have amazing friends and colleagues that have stood by us and provided us with immense support this entire time. I have a boss that cares as much as yours did, a team that has been cheering me on. Most of all, I am not alone in this battle because you have been fighting alongside me.  

Allow me the honour to continue what you had unknowingly done for me. Let me (and this newly started blog) continue your work to save a stranger.

Rest in peace Stranger. You’ve fought a good fight.

My deepest condolences to Sebastian and his family.