Monday, October 21, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

Facebook has made the world a whole lot smaller. I remember the first time I heard of it was when my brother sent me a notification through email. I had to join before being able to see the pictures that he tagged me in, so I did. Just that easy, I fell down the rabbit hole. 

For several months, I tinkered around facebook, liking pictures, commenting on posts, and reading updates from disgruntled political friends and proud parent friends. Then came the day that I was invited into a group of triple negative breast cancer sisters. It was through this group that I found support, understanding, love, and my voice. 

I went into the group expecting to be the one helping other women who were newly diagnosed or whose disease came back and they needed words of encouragement. I was set to be a tnbc cheerleader and root my warrior sisters on! I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The women that I met became my sisters. They helped me realize that I still had healing of my own to do. Yes, my treatment was over and my surgery was done, but my emotional scars had not begun to heal, instead, they were tucked away neatly behind my smile and joking personality. 

I began in the group, by reading and responding to women who had questions about their treatments and surgeries. I shared what I knew, what worked for me and what didn’t work. 

Then, I noticed that questions began to go beyond the physical battle of cancer and into the mental battle. This is when I realized how much healing I still needed. I read and read and reread the words of these women. I heard my own thoughts, fears, struggles and triumphs in their words. As the weeks and months went on, I found myself sharing my own thoughts and struggles with them. I cried when they felt pain. I cheered when they shared their milestones. I danced when they had no evidence of disease. 

It was through my sisters that I learned the ugly truth of triple negative. The way that it can take a beautiful woman and show her one-day as a sister who shares her love of laughter, shares pictures and dreams of her beautiful family, shares her passion and love for life. To then take the woman and see her fears of not making it to milestones with her children, to see a body that is weakened by disease, and to see the family try and pick up the pieces and move on after losing the one person that made them feel complete, feel whole.  

We have lost so many sisters during this journey. When this happens, the ladies in my group join together to lift the family in prayer and to lift each other in spirit. With each loss; it does get harder for me. I wonder how much longer can I continue to lose people that I have come to love? How many I’m sorrys can I type before it begins to lose it’s strength? How many children will I have to thank for sharing their mother with me? How much longer before it’s me that begins to lose my battle?

Then I look to my sisters and I see them stand up and shouting to wake up the world about the devastation of triple negative breast cancer. I see them jump out of airplanes and skydive down to the ground. I see them pink out at baseball games.  I see them touring vineyards and dancing the night away. I see them shout triumphs over new milestones. I see them writing books. I see them sharing laughs about phantom itches and Ritz crackers. 

Just when I think maybe it’s too much, a new sister enters our group. Welcomes are given, hugs are sent. Our arms open wide as we welcome in a new sister to our fold and close ranks to protect them as best we can from the beast. These are my sisters. They have accepted me, they have supported me, they have loved me. Through them, I have found a new beginning, a new me, a new voice. All that by jumping down the rabbit hole.

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