This gutted me...
And broke my heart into a million pieces.
Eric was like a brother to me. We bonded years ago when we were both newly diagnosed and we remained close until the end.
We were both mavericks, constantly getting both public and private reprimands from Gaelen for posting about our physical activities while we were on chemo. And what she said made some sense. But intrinsically, at the very intersection of our body and our soul, we both knew that giving up our pursuits – Eric’s bicycling and my running/mountain climbing – would damage the core of strength we needed to get through treatment.
So we cut down our mileage, but we kept our attitude and, like the bad kids in the back of the room in grade school, we privately compared how many times we got in trouble with her. In doing it our way, by declining to following the traditional lay-back-and-take-it-easy advice, we took ownership of our cancer journey, maybe even extending both of our lives. It was OUR journey, and we needed to insist on that fact.
Over the course of my journey with cancer, I’ve learned that, more than anything, cancer is about stories and friendships. And those friendships are antibodies against the depression and uncertainty of cancer. Eric’s irreverent humor made me laugh time and time again and his presence in my life made me stronger than I would have been on my own. Lately, we’d been discussing changes to the farm house he was remodeling in Wisconsin – the new hard maple floor, the tile backsplash in the kitchen that would match the porch spandrel design, whether to convert the old root cellar to a wine cellar. He loved that farm and couldn’t wait to retire there next spring. I’m glad that’s where it happened because I know that’s what he’d want.
The world is a dimmer place without him in it. He taught us all how to live a Big Life and give cancer only a small part in it. He will never be forgotten. To his wife, family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, may his presence continue to shine in your lives. And to Eric, AKA BrownBagger, I hope it’s a beautiful ride. It was an honor to walk this journey with you.
Stage IV, liver/lung mets 8/4/2010
Xelox+Avastin 8/18/10 to 10/21/11
LAR, liver resec, HAI pump 11/11
Double lung surgery + ileo reversal 2/12
Adjuvant Xeloda 3-9/12
VATS rt. lung 12/21/12 - benign granuloma!
NED 3/17/12 to 5/11/2018, CEA<1