Early March of 2019 she found a swollen sore red mass on her right breast, went to the doctor, he said it was just an abyss and gave her some pills, the pain continued, the swelling got worse. Her mother (another hero in my book) took her back and the doctor said, lets get a biopsy. Turned out she had inflammatory breast cancer.

Now some context, I am not making up a story for the sake of a women’s day article, nor am I paying distant homage to all the women who have or had this awful killer of a disease, and I have and know a few. This one is close to home, this one is so close that although its not my story to tell, I can write it like a witness from a side of more than empathy, this story is about my best friend, my person the one who made my world so full of bright lights and ferry wheels that I cannot imagine a time and space without her in it.

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She fought, every single day for year and a half to come out of this thing with 3 little letters N.E.D (No Evidence of Disease), yesterday we walked for the Breast Cancer Foundation in solidarity for her. She gathered her tribe, her band of supporters, her children, their significant others, their kids, her partner in life (who in my view is one of the best men I know) her friends, her old school mate and now colleague and his family and the dog, and we took to the streets. Dressed in T-shirts made for us. T- shirts that said, “I’m in it for the boobs” and “Boobs life matters” and we walked. A symbolic stroll for each chemotherapy session, each Herceptin injection, the mastectomy the pain, the infections, the tears, the hair loss, the nausea, the bladder infection. It feels like the meagre 5ks I did was nothing to compare it to, I should still be walking I should walk to Cairo and back and it would not be enough. She did it and she not only survived but thrived she walked but she fought too she fought for her life.

This is not my story to tell, but I do have a story in it. I watched a fighter go into the ring with her life and her biggest opponent, I was in the corner tapping her forehead with a cloth and egging her on. Days and nights, I cried for her without her knowing because a world without her would seem desolate to say the least, she is my sun, my rising star, and the biggest cheerleader I have.

I am angry with the cancer that took her breast so suddenly and without warning, I am angry with the medical aid for practically making her beg for an injection that while saving her life, took 2 days away from her each time just to make her better, I am angry with the blasé doctor who took the breast, the tears we cried when I kept some of my pain from her and the fight we had while I tried to protect her from my own drama. However we walked we walked for her and for her victory and I would do it again, it does not seem enough. It never will. I am glad you are here, I am blessed every day to have you here and for silently enduring and trying to be strong and for fighting and for winning for making me make big decisions and for quitting bad habits. For laughing at it now when we all know the weight and seriousness of it all.

There are choice words I have for cancer. It changed my friend her personality, her outlook she is strong she is better she is mine. And that is my homage to a warrior. Now off with you Cancer and your putrid disease you are disgusting toxic infectious horror show. Go and never ever darken our doors again we are done with you. This tribe of walkers and this girl who survived we have plans, we have laughs and tears and holidays and connectedness. We have kids and weddings and parties and dances we have life. You are no longer welcome, take your expensive treatment your billion-dollar industry, your vomit, your drip, your hair loss your chemo all of it and get out. Leave – I curse you with everything I have for the sake of my Jacki. And if I ever see you again, I will come at you with the same threatening promises we all did for her. Leave now while I still have the walk in me to tell you so.

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