Monday, October 15, 2012

Think Pink....For Breast Cancer Awarness Month

2012 FR Convention High Point Eugenia Wearing Agnes' Suit. INSET PIC: My Partner Peter
(In The Black) With Our Friend Jose Mora (In The White).

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone is showing their support from our local group of Red Hat ladies (who I saw all wearing pink hats this weekend at brunch) to football players wearing hot pink cleats on the field this Sunday – people from all walks of life are showing  support against the insidious disease of Cancer.

For those of you that are personal friends, you know that both Peter and I have lost several friends in the last six months to Cancer. So we are very sensitive to this horrble disease. We've had many women on both sides of our family fight and win while other's succumbed to it. Recently we lost one of our closest friends and although it was not to "Breast" was still still due to the big "C".

This year, we attended the funeral of one of our dearest and oldest friends Jose Mora. Jose was one of the individuals that could just make you laugh out loud until your sides hurt. He had been one of my partners  childhood friends since the age of 17 on. A few years ago they found a small growth in one of his lungs and they removed it orthoscopically. He didn't get chemo because they thought they caught it in time.  A few years later when on a routine visit to the Dr. he found that his blood work came back with indications that something was wrong with his system. Of course, like all men he hesitated and waited to go in to the Dr. to get an MRI exam for a couple of weeks. He feared the news would be bad, and it was. He had a hotdog shaped tumor in his lungs that had connected itself to his sternum. Immediately he was started on chemo and began his first fight against the deadly disease.

To his credit, I’ve never seen anyone have such a positive attitude. If he went through any fear, grief or anger none of us ever saw it. Every time we visited him his spirits were up and he was cracking wise the whole time. When his hair fell  out from the medication (which he nicknamed his Poison Martini) all of us that were close to him showed solidarity by shaving our own heads. Every couple of weeks he would send us a picture of himself in a new outrageous wig and make us all laugh. We all thought that his positive attitude and all our prayers helped him kick it the first time. We all thought we had dodged a bullet.

Some time passed and we received one of his regular calls to find out how we were and when he was planning to visit next (he loved visiting us in Orlando…because Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and The Boston Lobster Feast were his favorite places on the planet). At the end of what seemed like a regular conversation he ended by saying,”Oh, I almost forgot. That bitch Cancer is back.” We were dumbfounded. Immediately we started bitching at him and asking why hadn’t he called us earlier to let us know what was going on. He simply said,”I beat that it once before….I can do it again. Don’t worry. You Cubans are always making such a big deal out of nothing. Drama Queens!”. We could tell that he was just putting up a front for us. This time he was scared, you could hear it in between the sarcasm in his sentences. We knew this time it was bad.

He fought for over a year after the 2nd diagnosis, but we noticed he was wasting away before our very eyes. But he would just not quit living. Every time we talked he was going to visit a friend, planning a trip with his family or going out to dinner or a movie. He refused to stop living life every day to the fullest. I can honestly say, that Jose was an inspiration to all of us especially in his last days. Any time we wanted to feel sorry for ourselves about anything and bitch about whatever little problem we were dealing with in our life, we would think of “Joser (pronounced Hoser)” and things would return to their proper perspective.

Jose Mora drew his last breath in June of 2012 earlier this year. We went to his funeral but I refused to see him in his casket. I wanted to remember my friend laughing and healthy in my mind’s eye. I don’t regret that decision. He insisted we all wear red and wear Mickey Mouse shirts at his funeral. All his closest friends abided by his wishes. His family was appalled. He picked out his own suit for his viewing. A navy jacket, a royal blue shirt and a graphic Mickey Mouse tie held down by a “blinged out” tie pin. He held a rosary and a Mickey figurine that was flipping a “bird” to everyone. Everyone laughed and cried. Till the very end, he wanted all his friends to be happy and gave us one last laugh. His family was mortified.

On the 27th of October, his birthday, a group of us are going to come from all over the U.S. and celebrate his life at his favorite place in the whole world – EPCOT Center in Orlando. We’ve rented a home that we will all be staying in for the weekend. We are going to eat lobster and tell “Jose” stories. At the end of the weekend we are going to light paper lanterns (we are trying to be green and not use red balloons) with messages written on them in red to him and release it on midnight. We hope to do this in his memory at least once a year.

For everyone that is currently fighting Cancer or has loved one that is fighting – learn from Jose,”Fight that BITCH!”

For those of us that have lost loved ones to this horrible disease remember their life and all the happiness that you shared with them. To only remember the sorrow lets the Cancer “win” and we just can’t allow that.

We miss you Jose….but I know that if you have web access in Heaven (and you probably do) and are reading this blog right now, you would say,”I love you too….Petey & Lechuga….fuckin’ drama queens!”

P.s. Jose had nicknames for all his friends – Peter was always “Petey – My Beeeeeeest Friend” and he would always say it just like that. I was “Lechuga” which translates to “Lettuce”. He gave me that name because I was always so “fresh” and always had a quick verbal come-back to anything that he flung my way. 
P.s.s. Jose also loved my doll collection. Especially the IT one.....he used to say to me,"They look like bitchy Drag wonder you LOVE them! LOL!

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