Sunday, June 28, 2015

One year later, remembering, and missing, a friend

Adirondack Mountains, February, 2007
It's hard to believe that it has been a year since my friend Patricia Jempty's death.

If you read her blog, you knew her as PJ, and if you want to go back, it's still there at The Plog. The last post is a beautiful tribute by her husband, Marty.

It seemed like one minute we were making a game about comparing the side effects of our transplants: the most teeth lost (me, 11 to 3); the worst GVHD (her); skin cancer surgery, both; multiple bone marrow transplants, me (four to two); the spectacular falls, a tie, with us both running a race, falling down, and getting back up. Although hers was the most impressive. When I fell at mile six of the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, I took an ambulance to the finish. When she ran the New York Marathon for Team in Training, she went a longer distance, tripped over a curb and fell, then stopped at a friend's house for brunch and walked black and blue the rest of the way Marty.

She started her blog first, and when she found mine, she wrote that we were dopplegangers: same disease (acute myeloid leukemia), same cancer center (Dana-Farber) similar treatment, three children, both runners, both in love with our dogs, both appreciating the good strong coffee that we drank when we met. Nobody could understand us the way we understood each other, except maybe Ann, who, sadly, also died last year.

It was just by a stroke of luck that I got the strong cells of my donor, Denise, and she got an anonymous donor who couldn't fight off the disease.

Thinking of the Jempty family on this yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death in the Jewish tradition, and missing my friend.

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