04 June 2011
I’ve long had my best friends. But during the past eighteen months, I have built a cadre of “BReast Friends.” It’s my new sisterhood, women like me who are battling, or have fought the battle of breast cancer. This morning I have made added a new sister, a new BReast friend into my life. Her name is Denise.
Denise found me on the Internet, through this blog, researching her doctors at UAMS. We have the same medical team – Klimberg, Makhoul and Yuen – which is excellent news for her. And because Arkansas is one small town, we figured out through social media that we have several friends in common. That’s all we needed to know to legitimize a visit by phone this morning.
Like me, Denise is a mother and a professional woman, as well. And like many of us, and another 560 women each day in the US, she has been given the devastating news of breast cancer - Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Some will say IDC is the most common type of breast cancers. But for those of us who are survivors, we know there is nothing “common” about any kind of cancer. It’s all terrible, none of it good! And that’s what Denise and I talked about this morning by phone. This week she will put on her boxing gloves and begin her wrestle with the alligator, the first of eight chemotherapy treatments.
We talked about the miracle potion called chemo, losing your hair, wearing hats versus wigs, learning to receive rather than to give, the tough road for our children, and the all-powerful love of family, friends and colleagues. We visited about food, not tempting the nausea Gods, eating stomach friendly protein foods like chicken and eggs. And then we talked about UAMS and our medical team, and I assured her that she was in the best hands.
My new BReast friend feels like all of us at the time of our diagnosis – the Jekyll &Hyde dilemma, I call it. One minute you feel incredibly empowered, filled with all the courage needed to kill the beast. And then, without any warning, a wave of fear consumes your soul, the vulnerability of a daunting disease that has invaded your body and turned your life upside down. But in the end, Denise will be fine, as she has found spiritual peace in the words of Joshua 1, verse 9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Denise and I have not yet met, but we’re already fast friends, BReast friends, women connected through the unfortunate journey of cancer. But she will join our sisterhood and will be blessed by the love of so many good feminine souls – friends like Ellen, Kathy, Frances, Paula, Kelley, Meredith, Liz, Robin, Carol Ann, Mary, Mare, Barbara, Angie, Coco, Penny and so many more. Some of these strong women I have known for almost a lifetime; others I only met this year. Most have had breast cancer; some have experienced other types of cancer. But they have all blessed me with their strength and perseverance, courageous spirit and inspiration. And yes, they have all survived this nasty cancer.
Welcome Denise, to the BReast Friends Club. It’s not a club any of us wanted to join, but we’re here for you. Rest assured, your BReast friends will love you, care for you, serve as prayer warriors and be by your side when you need us. We’ve faced this journey before and have all landed on the other side. Yippee! We’ll stand by your side as you walk down this tough road called cancer, and we’ll be there to celebrate when you cross the finish line too.
Prayers for you Denise – for hope, faith, courage and healing.
Posted by Stacy Sells at 5:13 PM