Over the next few days, we chatted about random things - what I was doing, how I was feeling; this and that. He always seemed reluctant, or distracted. As if he was on the verge of telling me what was up. But he never really got to it. So I kept checking up on him.
The next day, he let slip that he was getting married.
"Married! Really? Haha I understand now why you're busy!"
"I'm so excited! But stressed with all the planning.. I'll talk soon dude! When I have time!"
He never did get to talk. Well, HE hasn't yet...
But I did get a message from his husband the other day.
"Andrew's in the hospital... and he told me to message you. He was vomiting for a while. And then he fell unconscious... they're watching over him closely."
"Oh no... that's horrible. I know he's going through pain right now... but I'm sure he's glad you're there to help him..." I messaged cautiously. Dread was almost palpably building up in my stomach, as it always does when someone messages me something like this...
"Well, he mentioned something about his legs having some issues... If I may ask, what's brought this on? Is he OK now? Are you?"
No reply. Until the next day. When I got this message.
My dread was confirmed... I realised where this was heading. I knew what that meant. And when I read his last post on Google Plus, it was confirmed. Andrew was dying.
Andrew himself, though he'd made it, and fulfilled his dream of getting married to the love of his life, was still, in his own words, "terrified" of what was to come... And he wanted his friends to know that. Contrary to what people thought, he didn't feel brave or strong, but rather terrified. Who wouldn't be? In truth, most, if not all cancer patients are...
I tried for ages to write and send his husband some words that could ease both their pains. Some magical combination of letters and phrases that could absolve them of their torment, and bring about some relief... but... in the midst of this... tragedy... I couldn't think of any.
"It sucks that good people have to be subjected to so much pain and suffering... But I read Andrew's post today and I know that he's in a similar place I was and is handling it the same way I did.
When I was diagnosed, I was given a tiny chance of survival. For a long time, I was down and out about it all... I was devastated tbh [to be honest]. But after a while I took a step back and looked at what had happened to me... As if it had happened to someone else. And when I did that, I realised I shouldn't worry about what I couldn't control - the pain, the treatments and everything horrible to come but rather what I could. And that was just focusing on just being as healthy as possible, inching my chances up that much higher... And just being happy wherever and whenever I could.
I know it's not enough to erase Andrew's pain, and terror of what's to come. Of his husband's inconsolable loss of his 18 year old partner...
But if you're reading this... the best way you can honour Andrew's life is to learn from him.
I know it seems clichéd, but just because it is, doesn't mean it's not true.
Along with my remorse for their loss though... I feel... some anger. I've seen too many people, young and old, suffer now. I've seen too many people die...
I've been thinking for a while now about a novel, new way of treating cancer. One based on the concepts of immunotherapy, but one applicable, a system transferable, and able to target many types of cancer. I'll explain more as I flesh out the details and conduct further research into it to see if it's plausible, but click here for a thread I had early on as I started thinking it up. But I hope I'm right and hope that this can become a game changer. If not... I hope that immunotherapies of all kinds can improve further and hit the markets quicker so less people have to go through experiences like this...