By Sara Bondell
When Cori Register and Sydnee Geril see each other, they talk about blood counts.
Not the typical conversation you would expect from two women in their early 20’s. Both women are battling a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.
Geril was diagnosed first, in October. She had just graduated from Louisiana State University with her sights set on law school. While visiting her home in Ocala, doctors told her what she thought was a fractured hip was actually cancer.
Register was working for her family’s business when she was diagnosed in November. She moved back in with her parents, was forced to give up driving and says dating is now off her radar.
"It completely stops your life," said Register. "I feel like I have regressed instead of moving forward and it’s sad. Everybody else’s lives are moving forward and I’m just here."
Since Ewing’s sarcoma typically occurs in children and teenagers, Register was having difficulty finding someone her age that could relate. She says most online forums were run by parents whose children were battling the disease and that the Moffitt hallways felt like an "AARP-fest."
But at her first visit with oncologist Dr. Damon Reed, Register found out she actually wasn't alone. Reed was also treating another young woman with the same cancer. He put the two in touch.
Register and Geril’s relationship began over texting, where they shared tips and discussed strange side effects. Not long after, they met in person and continued to run into each other at hospital visits.
"It’s really nice," said Geril. "Even if we don’t see each other all the time, it’s still keeping up and making sure we are doing okay and when we will be at the hospital next."
"I feel like I have a friend here," said Register.
Both women are undergoing aggressive and lengthy treatment, including nine months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation. They say having a friend makes things a bit easier and call themselves the chemo buddies.
Sometimes the pair sees each other daily, but they know that won’t always be the case. And that’s okay with them. Because running into each other at the hospital less and less will mean they’re on the road to recovery and that soon they will be talking about careers and the future instead of blood counts.