• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here’s Johnny!

Goodbye, Becky I met Becky Selby and three of her best friends in early April of 2017. It was a privilege to write a story about them, and a greater one to become friends with The Wolfpack. Someone cut the article out and put it in a frame behind the bar at the Kroger liquor store. That, too, was an honor, even though I was ribbed about it and even accused of doing the frame job myself. Becky died Sunday, having lived far longer than her doctors thought possible. She was beautiful and funny and a great listener who put up with my occasional head-scratching comments with humor and patience. This is a condensed version of the story printed in the April 13, 2017 edition of the Sun. If you walk into the Kroger liquor store on a Thursday between 5 and 7 p.m., you’ll likely see a dozen or so people wearing pink T-shirts gathered around the small bar next to the cash registers. You won’t see what brought them together: The tumors in Becky Selby’s lungs that doctors found last August. Actually, their story begins before that. By the time Selby learned she had triple negative breast cancer in May of 2014, she and Joy Farmer and Carol Broughton and Allison Gentry had lived within a block of each other in the Gleneagles subdivision for nearly a decade. That spring, Selby underwent a lumpectomy and blasts of radiation and chemotherapy – and the ladies, who call themselves “The Wolfpack,” after the riotous crew in “The Hangover” movies, began spending more time together. When the cancer returned last year, Pint Night at Kroger became a regular event. So, too, apparently, did finishing each other’s stories and even sentences. “This started as kind of a funny, ‘Hey, let’s go drink at Kroger.’ Chemos were originally on Friday, and this is on Thursday. Well, Thursday she would get real anxious,” said Farmer. “Very emotional,” added Broughton. “And she would not want to come,” Farmer continued. “She would have her little pity party and we’d go in her house …” “They literally walk into my house,” Selby interjected. “And drag her out,” Farmer added. “And say, ‘What shirt are we wearing?’ Sometimes they’ve even lifted me off the couch and said, ‘You’re going,’ with tears in my eyes, and they’re like, ‘You look beautiful.’ I can tear up just thinking about it,” Selby said. After the mastectomy and debilitating treatments, she thought – hoped – that she was in the clear. “My hair started growing back, I lost a lot of weight, we started going places, and so that lasted about 17 months, until August of ’16. It came back stage four, metastatic to my lungs. Huge tumors in my lungs. So now that’s incurable. It’s treatable, but incurable. I’ve been on, like, six vacations. We’ve done so many things together,” Selby said. “The first time I was diagnosed, I said I would never go through that treatment again, because it was horrible. But when it went into my lungs and they said, ‘You could possibly have three months to live,’ I was like, ‘I guess I’ll try it again.’” Meantime, the Wolfpack has been to Las Vegas and Green River and Lake Cumberland and meet regularly on non-Pint Nights, too. “I’ve taken a lot of trips, because when you’re told you have three months, you better do something,” Selby said. On this particular Thursday, two weeks after her last chemo session and six days before her next, she felt good. “Today I feel like myself, even though I don’t look like myself,” she said. Nearly three years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Selby’s life consists of much more than surgery and life-preserving but debilitating medicines. The Wolfpack and their followers have held benefits and distributed 300 or so T-shirts, the latest with the inscription, “Still saving second base.” (The ladies have to explain the reference to a newcomer who’d apparently forgotten the next step after a passionate kiss.) “If I didn’t have them, I don’t know where I’d be. I really don’t. If I didn’t have my girlfriends, I’d literally be – would I not be curled up? You all have seen me curled up in the corner, crying,” Selby said to her friends. Selby said with their help, she’ll keep battling for herself, sons Hagan and Hunter, and husband Will, with whom she’ll celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary on May 15. Amidst the pints drained and laughs shared, they haven’t forgotten what brought them together. “There are high-lows, obviously, throughout this process. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like for me (to have cancer), but as a friend, as her support team, we try to make sure those lows are less and the highs are greater,” Gentry said. Even if it means telling the one with cancer that her pity party is over, because it’s time to go to chemotherapy – or Pint Night. “It’s a really special relationship like I’ve never had before,” said Selby.

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