Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Friend Online

A few years ago I stumbled across a blog written by a young woman who was battling breast cancer. I don't remember when exactly I found her blog or when I first started reading her regular updates, but I do remember adding her to my list of favorites and checking in on her life regularly. I eventually connected with her on the social networking site Crazy, Sexy, Life and on Facebook which allowed for more real time updates.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25 and during the years I've read her blog she has had good news and bad news, been married and moved to the Midwest and tried treatment after treatment. She's never shied away from sharing her test results, her hopes and fears or pictures of herself losing her hair or sitting in a hospital bed. Quite simply she's invited her readers along with her every step of the way and I'm amazed at her bravery. I also admire her tenacity and spunk as she fights the cancer, at the humor she manages to find during her grueling treatments and her positive outlook in the face of a devastating diagnosis. She has always maintained that she was going to beat the disease and I've always believed she would.

But I think my friend is dying. Her blog entries still display her spunky personality and her tenacity but I know...from her words...her health is declining. I check her blog for updates every day. I post on her Facebook page to let her know that I am thinking of her and hope...and hope...that she is just on another vacation to see the sea and lay in the sun as she so loves to do. But I've had a bad feeling lately and I can tell from the comments and posts of others, they are praying.

She is my friend even though I've never met her and likely never will. I know she dreams of a long life with her husband. I know she wants to snowboard again. I know that she has a cat named Chloe who likes to take naps on her. It doesn't matter that I've never shared a meal with her or introduced her to my family or friends. What matters is that I've been there after she has written her words and sent them out into cyberspace. I've cried over her latest diagnosis, laughed at pictures of her vacations and marveled at her bravery when she went skydiving. I see the world differently through her eyes. She inspires me and I'm so thankful she's shared her journey.

I just can't imagine a world without her in it.


Chrissy said...

Wow, you must be talking about Shannon! I am also an avid follower of her blog (and a fellow former Michigan girl). I have been so inspired by her words and amazing, courageous story...and now I'm terrified by what I'm reading on Facebook. So many people seem to be praying and I'm really fearful of what's happening.

Shannon Distel Scanlan said...

Chrissy, yes it's Shannon. I fear the next update almost as much as I fear when she doesn't update. And I hope...

Chrissy said...

I am so incredibly sad now.:( It's amazing how a complete stranger can touch the lives of so many. She was amazing.