I received very sad news today. My friend Deepali passed away yesterday. She was 34 years old. Last June she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer with liver and brain mets...it was already too late.
I met Deepali in 2002 when I went to work as a programmer/analyst. She was not originally part of our team, but spent much time with us as she learned Java. Eventually we were both moved to Operations Education and worked together on a Lotus Notes project. We became good friends. I only stayed at that job for 2 years, but we remained friends after I left often meeting for lunch. She was one of those people who could eat hordes of food and never gain a pound.
When I first met Deepali, she was still single and she often talked about her friends that were having babies. We joked a lot that one day she would come in and announce that she was pregnant. Well, one day she came in and told us that she had gotten married over the weekend. Well, as you can imagine, it wasn't long before she had that long awaited news...finally pregnant! So, two and a half years ago, Deepali had a beautiful little boy that she just adored.
I found out in September that Deepali was ill. When we talked she told me that the tumor was too large to be removed and that they were treating it with chemo. She told me that she knew something was wrong in January because she had severe pain that limited the use of her arm. The doctors were reluctant to do a mammogram for some reason. Several months later, Deepali finally insisted on that mammogram...it came back negative. I guess they must have known something was there because they moved to an MRI which showed the cancer which had already metastasized.
I had lunch with Deepali in October. She wore a wig that we didn't speak about. Her spirits were high and she was confident that she would beat the cancer. True to herself, she ate a huge lunch...I was happy to see that.
I didn't expect to hear of her passing today or so soon. Tomorrow I will attend her funeral...I can't believe I'm writing that, saying that. I am broken hearted.
I had two friends diagnosed with breast cancer last year...both under 40 years old. One stage four, the other stage two. Neither old enough to have had a baseline mammogram...neither with a family history of breast cancer. Perhaps there is a lesson in this about getting that mammogram, about making sure your doctor listens to you, about the medical community changing the way they view women's health care.