I hate it when bad things happen to good people, I really, really do. Our friend Cathaleen (yes that is how it is spelled), who just celebrated her 21st birthday, has been diagnosed with cancer; a rare form of lymphoma to be specific. She is one of the girls – I mean young ladies – at our local church we have met and become good friends with. An outgoing girl with a big smile and friendly personality, she is the one who organized last year’s church Christmas Play.
Cathaleen comes from a home schooling family and she was determined to attend college and further her education. To be accepted in college she needed a high school diploma or the equivalent, so she worked very diligently in the GED program and graduated last year.
She is a hard worker who has a job at the local coffee shop and saved her money to buy her own car this past summer. She was so excited about the new-to-her car that she and her friends all took turns sitting in it the first day she drove it to church.
After completing her GED, she enrolled at the local community college – an hour’s drive from here – and did very well her first semester. And then she was diagnosed with cancer. At a time in her life when she should be enjoying her college experience and making new friends and expanding her horizons, she is spending every third week in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and the other two weeks dealing with side effects.
Like most 21-year-old girls that I know, she enjoys trying different “looks” and hairstyles. And now she has lost all her hair and is wearing hats.
Amazingly, she has a really good attitude about the whole cancer situation. She is positive and upbeat and I have not heard her complain – well OK she did seem to think the hospital lunch she was served left a lot to be desired; however having seen that lunch, I believe she showed good judgement. Her poise and maturity has impressed everyone she has come into contact with. She continues to try to keep up as much of her “normal life” as possible. She was released from the hospital on Saturday evening and back in church running the audio system on Sunday morning. She is working on the classes she was taking when she was diagnosed, and she is going to try working a couple of short shifts at the coffee shop.
Cathaleen is a strong Christian and I know God has a plan and will somehow work all this for good. I must admit though, I still don’t like it one bit that she is having to deal with this disease and treatment; and while her prognosis is hopeful there are certainly no guarantees about the outcome. So, if you are a praying person please remember Cathaleen. She will be going back into the hospital in ten days for her fourth round of chemo.