Over the years, you have seen tributes that have been written for fellow cancer survivors, that had come into my life in one form or another, and had always had an impact on me with their attitudes towards life and survivorship, and sadly, pass away. Unfortunately, for many of my fellow Hodgkin’s survivors, while we beat our cancer, it left us fighting for our lives against side effects caused by the treatments that saved us. Julie passed away last week. And as much as I knew about her, there are those who had even greater interactions and support with her, and found an even more eloquent way to pay tribute to Julie.
I have asked one of those fellow survivors, Gail, to put her words, here, for all to see the true impact that Julie had on all of us when she came into our lives. Gail is a wife and mother, and a three-time cancer survivor, one of those cancers being Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, just like me, just like Julie.
Here is Gail’s tribute to Julie.
“There is a great relief and joy that comes when you find a group of people that understand you. Especially when it comes to health challenges.
Such is the case for my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma family particularly those treated with the same radiation and other therapies I was years ago. We are all now experiencing the same or similar repercussions. And even if we don’t have the same exact repercussions we know what it feels like to hear that you have been diagnosed with another one. (We find similar repercussions with people treated from 1960’s-90’s)
You bond with these people, go to doctors with them (albeit by way of text or messaging or reading a post after they are done), you get the fatigue they live with, the frustration they feel, the anxiety over health care issues and so so much more. They become family.
The hard part of this is the reality we all face. That death may find us long before it should because of those same repercussions.
Yesterday I lost my best and closest Hodgkin’s lymphoma sister, Julie Henderson. We called each other Wonder Twins. We laughed about punching doctors in the throat and kept each other going through the last 4 years of political craziness with laughter. Julie was the most giving person and also my biggest limoncello supplier (she taught Italian and knew where to find the best!!).
It has taken me all day to sit and put this in to words but I needed to. The reality is she isn’t the first person we’ve lost in our community of survivors…she won’t be the last sadly.
She shouldn’t have died because she had treatment in 1986 for Hodgkin’s…but she did.