Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The sisterhood

The other night I went out for sushi with 3 of my single girl friends.  All of us are in our late 30s/ early 40s.  We sat around the table eating our edamame discussing the usual- guys, dating, work, life when one of the group got serious.  She informs us that she is now 1 week into radiation for breast cancer.  They caught it really early, she had a successful lumpectomy.   Not the usual single gal dinner chat, but then as I looked around the table, I thought of giving the response that the girl sitting across the table gave to me when I told her of my diagnosis 2 years ago-  The simple "welcome to the sisterhood."  I still remember her saying it.  It wasn't pity or fear she was sharing with me, it was friendship, welcoming, and an understanding that you only have if you've been there.  I hope that we were able to share that kind of welcoming to our friend.  

Then on further reflecton, we all realized that oh man-  here we are 4 single women in our prime, and 3 of us have had cancer in 3 different forms.  All of us were diagnosed early and have good prognoses, but one of us has already had a recurrence.  We all are healthy appearing, vibrant young women, none of us has that "woe is me" thing going, but yet how?  That is rhetorical , obviously.   It seems to me that you keep hearing more and more about younger and younger adults getting diagnosed.  I like to hope that it is because of better screening leading to catching it earlier, but I don't know.   I thank goodness for public awareness about mammograms that caught my friends tumor at such an early stage that she has an excellent prognosis.  I am thankful that she, who had a lot going on in her life at the time, didn't cancel the appointment as so many (including myself) do.  Thus, giving her the best chances possible.  I continue to encourage everyone to get their own screening done- please

This post is dedicated to you my friend-  may health and healing follow you and may you know that people are thinking of you.-  Lisa


JaxMom said...

wow. I will keep your friends in my prayers. And yes, I won't shred the letter from the hospital when they start harassing me again.

Jeanne said...

Lisa--On the question of how could three out of four young women get cancer ... my first thought is that there is a certain amount of randomness about who gets cancer and who doesn't.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 43 with no family history and no (known) risk factors.

My second thought is that environmental pollutants and carcinogens are increasing--this we know, and that may be a factor. Obviously, I can't say--and neither could a doctor--that the cancers the three of you have had were caused by environmental factors, but I think this is something we need to get under control.

Actually, one of my next rants on my blog, The Assertive Cancer Patient, is going to be on this topic. Because when we export jobs to China and elsewhere, we also export pollution, and along with the pollution, we export cancer. I expect cancer rates in China to climb dramatically over the next couple of decades.

Good post!