breast cancer journey



A woman in my neighborhood, I’ll refer to as Ms. A, wasdiagnosed with breast cancer over the summer.  The mother of young children,  Ms. A hasalways been active, busy, plugged in, socially conscious, etc… then suddenly,in a flash, her life just changed. Out of nowhere, like so many other women,wives, mothers, daughters, aunts, friends and neighbors, her life simplychanged.


When word spread through our community, there were  countless vibrations of disbelief.   It was as though we could imagineit happening to anyone, except for the person it happened to.  It felt like a huge irony somehow, likeChristopher Reeve, superman, ending up in a wheelchair. 


Ms.A is, and was, vivacious, funny, outrageous,  and fiercely proud of her augmentedbreasts, or ‘boobies’ as she calls them.   Her undergoing double mastectomy, after the augmentation, felt like a real crash andburn.  Then came the dreaded,countless rounds of chemo, the hair falling out, the general ‘poopiness’ of itall, as she calls it.


Ms. A has been open hearted and generous enough about herexperience to share her journey in an online care sight, where she canfaithfully, for the benefit of loved ones, enter updates about her progress andsetbacks,  and allow the folks inher world to sign in and root her on. 


What I’m sure she never expected was how her words couldhave ended up helping the rest of us, and I’d like to hope that her ‘guests’ inher online guestbook have helped her ‘keep the faith’ during her long days andrestless nights.  She has told herstory with mighty grit, humor, passion, and determination.  None of us who have followed herupdates have been able to escape without laughter and countless tears. 


Ms. A has written hilarious accounts on wig shopping, falseeyelash application, complete with rhinestone hearts (‘for bling’ - her words,not mine.)   She went so faras to hold a head shaving party, which her husband and young son participated in, shaving their headsalso, for support, with love.


I’ve never had the priviledge of  learning about the process of breast cancer treatment firsthand, or kicking cancers @#$, and she says. Ms. A, much to my own disbelief,has almost turned it into something fun, a kind of adventure, like an extendedkind of field trip, though filled with many peaks and valleys.


She had a friend make her a shiny pink cape, complete with‘sparkly’ trim so she could wear it to her treatments, dubbing it her ‘chemocape’ -- genius!  We have allbelieved that if anyone can beat this, surely Ms, A can.  This belief has been  a beacon for her community atlarge.  She is connecting withwomen all over, in various stages of diagnosis and treatment.  She has given the rest of us somethingto grab onto, and in extending herself, she’s given the rest of us a chance toconnect.  What a gift. That kind ofstuff is heavy.  It’s connection,and it’s why were here, or at least that’s what I like to believe.  Yeah, she’s toughing out thetreatments, but she is also generously sharing her story, the good, the bad andthe ugly, and for that, she may never really know who she’s touched.  And that’s something to be thankful forthis holiday season.  HappyThanksgiving to all, and to Ms. A and her family especially.


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