This picture was taken on April 9, 2010. She was at karoake, which is one of her favorite things to do.
She had had her bilateral mastectomy and had not yet started chemo. This is her real hair.
She is my daughter, my first born child. What a privilege I was given. I get to be her mother.
I went to a Comfort Club meeting yesterday. I love Comfort Club. It’s very… calming (and comforting) to me.
There is something about being in a room with other women who know. Who know what it’s like to hear “it’s cancer”. Who know what it’s like to wonder “Am I going to die? What about my family? Will my children remember me?” Who know what it’s like to have to decide: Lumpectomy? Mastectomy? Breast reconstruction? Many of whom have had the experience of losing their hair. And all the feelings that go with that. Who understand what chemo side effects are like. Who know what it’s like to be looked at differently.
I like being in a group of women who just understand. I can listen to their stories and learn from them. Although we share a common diagnosis, “breast cancer”, I have yet to meet another woman who has had the same experience as I have. We share much, and yet our experiences are different.
As I was driving home yesterday, I thanked God for my breast cancer. I do not believe that God gave me cancer. I do believe that all things work for good for those that love God, and have been called according to his purpose.
I feel like I am where I need to be in my life now. I feel like I have had (another one) of the big experiences I am supposed to have. I feel like I see a little clearer now, have more understanding and compassion. And I feel like I can help people in a way I couldn’t have before.
I feel like I have a mission. Or at least a direction. I want to help other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
And yet I remind myself that I am still going through it. It’s only been 7 months.
And I am still going through it. In fact, there is much that I haven’t gone through. I’m not done with reconstruction. My hair hasn’t grown back fully. And…. I still have so so many feelings that need to come out. Tears. Anger. Confusion.
One of the things we talked about at the meeting yesterday is who were we before breast cancer, and who are we because and beyond breast cancer. I could answer the first two. I know how I was different before, and now, because of. But I’m not beyond breast cancer yet. I’m still in the middle.
It’s helpful for me that there are women in the group who are a few years out. Who were diagnosed years ago. They are still in the group. They still have feelings about their breast cancer. They are survivors. And I “look up” to them. I really like knowing breast cancer survivors. Who have gone through what I’m going through and have gone through what I have yet to experience. It comforts me.
What could have easily been seen as the worst thing that has ever happened to me is probably going to turn into the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Let’s do this.