Kirsten on her and Ian's restored Boston Whaler somewhere up in the beautiful Northwest in Canada. I think they completed it last summer. Glad she was able to enjoy it for a while....
Today has been a bad day. I found out this morning that my friend and fellow cancer warrior Kirsten has passed away after a courageous battle with refractory Hodgkins. Her body could no longer take the therapy to control the disease as her blood counts stopped cooperating. I am pretty numb right now and have been all day.
I'm really at a loss as to what to say except my love and prayers go out to Kirsten's Mom Susan and Ian as well as the rest of Kirsten's family and friends.
I've missed Kirsten's interesting and insightful posts on her blog about this disease as well her outlook on life. She inspired me to seek out ways to be at peace with my situation and in her spirit will renew this ongoing quest. I also admired Kirsten's talent as a writer and photographer, both of which she was very talented. I felt like we had a lot in common. Like I said in my previous post, when I lived in Seattle, I had a chance to meet Kirsten and Ian in person when they were in town to consult with the SCCA (in Seattle, they lived 2 1/2 hours away in Vancouver BC Canada). Jackie and I went to pick them up at their hotel and took them around the city before having lunch and dropping them off at Bumbershoot music festival. Kirsten definitely tried to live by planning cancer around her life which is the only way to go.
I will miss Kirsten's calmness and dry wit. She was also very strong. As I've written on here in the past, the side effects from the therapy sometimes are as bad if not worse than the disease itself. I know how uncomfortable she was but yet still seemed to power through and have a great attitude.
I will miss our e-mail exchanges. She would always take the time to write something interesting and funny...
This is all so shocking right now...
I've got to try and keep my head together. It's impossible not to think of the same thing happening to me in the relatively near future. I worry about my platelets. I'm barely making the threshold each time I have to do blood draw. Is this going to be a chronic problem? (actually it almost already is). Once your counts don't recover on their own anymore, it's really challenging to beat back the cancer.
I don't want to make this about me though because today is Kirsten's day. She was only in her mid 30's for God's sake. I just wish she could have held on a little longer as perhaps something would have come out that could have saved her. I know how tired she must have been though and feel comforted knowing that she doesn't have the awful anxiety anymore, not to mention the physical and mental pain that she was in.
It's really tough to lose one of your heroes. I know all of us in the refractory group keep tabs on each other and do out best to try and support each other. Even though Kirsten hadn't been as active in the end due to her constantly feeling like crap, she still took the time just last week to explain what was going on with her and seemed to be optimistic about getting through this, ugh.
She had a great sense of humor, such a nice calmness to her and was very kind. Again, if you'd like to know more about her, please check out her blog cancersmancer which can be found on my blog list on this page.
I will miss her very much.
I'm going to try even harder to make every minute of this life count as it's so precious.
Here's to you Kirsten, my friend. May you rest in peace.