“I looked you up on your blog.” One of the women at the retreat where I was speaking this weekend, stopped me on the path. “I didn’t realize you had breast cancer.” She smiled, a sister sharing a bond. “Me, too. I found out in 2015; it has been six years, and I’m clear!” She told me a little of her story – a much more harrowing story than mine – and parted with, “I just wanted to encourage you, from another survivor.”
I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – something I take much more seriously than I used to, after going through treatment for breast cancer since early last year. I’ve now spoken to so many friends, acquaintances, readers, and women at events who have been on their own journeys, and I wanted to take a moment to tip my hat to all of you this month. Thank you, ladies, for your courage, your transparency, and your welcoming arms to every one of us who finds ourselves a part of this particular club that no one ever wanted to join.
You’ve told me your stories and hearing them has done something precious: it has allowed me to feel that I’m not alone. It has given me hope. It has taught me so much. So in case it helps someone else . . . here’s PART 1 of my story.*
Four days before Christmas 2020, Jeff and I had just finished some Christmas shopping and were driving home to meet a hairdresser friend who comes over to cut our family’s hair. My cell phone rang. It was from the center at which I had recently had a mammogram and then a biopsy. I honestly hadn’t been worried about it after that. Since our family has zero history of breast cancer, I assumed what had appeared on my screening mammogram was just a cyst or something. In fact, I had been far more concerned about the fact that a biopsy meant that someone would be inserting a needle deep into my breast. Once that ordeal was over, I stopped thinking about it.