Earlier this week, lung cancer extinguished a bright star. Patrick Leer is the first cancer friend I’ve lost. It’s heartbreaking in so many ways; some were anticipated, others were not.
Patrick was diagnosed in January 2012, just a few months after me. He was stage 1 and had surgery in March 2012. After 14 months cancer-free, his doctors discovered new lung tumors and brain mets in May 2013. He had WBR for his brain and was suffering through chemotherapy to treat his lungs when he started going downhill. I know he was hospitalized with an infection but had come home shortly before he died.
I knew Patrick through his blog, our emails, and short Twitter direct messages. He was a kind man whose primary passion was to love and care for his wife, crippled by MS only four years into the 28 they would spend together. He loved her so much and spoke of the time they spent together only as a privilege and never a burden.
Patrick blogged at http://lung-cancer-survivor.blogspot.com. I’ve found myself going back, seeing if I could piece together his last few weeks, but I can’t. Maybe his daughter will finish his story someday.
Lung cancer only exists to kill, and after two years in this unfortunate club, it has taken one of my friends. The rest of us can only hold hands a little tighter and hug our loved ones a little longer. And when we tell you “I love you,” please know that we mean it so much it hurts.