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Lymphoma Sisters

by Kimi-Kali Powers

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Kimi-Kali Powers and “lymphoma sister,” Julie

To hear the words “You have cancer” is devastating for any one person to handle. When you have two complete strangers brought together by the same exact diagnosis, months apart, it makes you stop and think, How did this happen? Did we drink the same water? Sit on the same toilet seat? Breathe the same air?

We had to give credit where credit is due. God places people in our lives at the right time and for the right reason. I thank God every day for my lymphoma sister.

Julie and I met at Bennett Optometry, in Ann Arbor, MI. She was my son James’ vision therapist. We instantly clicked, and our relationship grew from that of therapist and patient to friends. Julie and I began talking on the phone as if we had known each other since grade school.

We made plans to take a road trip to Frankenmuth, a little German town in Michigan, to shop and to eat their famous chicken. However, our plans were delayed when Julie was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in September 2006. I was shocked to hear that my newfound friend had cancer. Fast forward to December 2006.

God places people in our lives at the right time and for the right reason.

I end up in the hospital with difficulty breathing and a swollen face, eyes, and hands. My eventual diagnosis – diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Julie and I instantly started joking that I was jealous and didn’t want her to have cancer alone or be the only one wearing a wig. I just had to be sick with her.

The two of us compared doctor reports, medications, chemo sessions, and all the strange things that happen to your body while going through cancer treatment. We even solved the issue of how to take the nasty taste out of our prednisone, by wrapping it in Fruit Roll-Ups.

No one understood what we were going through except each other. We spent countless hours on the phone talking, crying, and consoling one another. We continue to share every milestone and celebrate our remission. Julie’s remission date is April 10, 2007, and mine is June 20, 2007. We are excited about turning four this year, and we will be celebrating by finally taking that trip to Frankenmuth.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, May/June 2011.