I received a letter asking that I come in to have a picture taken to display for Breast Cancer Awareness month. You all know how much I love having my picture taken. Not.
This is different though, and I will have the picture taken. I will come up with a few words about my experience. Know why? Last year, I found the cancer just before Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I remember walking into the hospital very early in the morning for the surgery, and I remember being greeted by great arcs of pink balloons, and the Survivor's Wall, rows of pictures, their words. I was at a very hard place then. I was afraid. It was all new. It was unreal. I just could not wrap my head around the fact that it was happening to me. Was I going to die? I did not have a clue and I was just sick about it. I hadn't slept much the night before. It all just seemed so big, so completely overwhelming. While Tim was taking care of the registration, I took a minute to wander through these pictures, to read the words, and you know what? It was a very 'real' moment for me. It helped. I recognized faces, and I thought, "Oh, I did not know that she had breast cancer..." and it was encouraging to think of that person as I'd seen them last, lively, active, busy. And two days later, I was back for the medport. I read more of those words, studied more faces. I remember Elaine, the nice nurse telling me that she was sorry to hear that it was cancer, but that she was sure that I had what it took to beat it. During that uncertain time, the words that I read on the Survivor Wall gave me hope. The encouraging words that people struggled to come up with meant a lot to me too. I tucked these things away in my heart, clung to them like a lifeline.
There are a lot of things that I'm not really sure of right this very minute. However, I am sure that if I can encourage one woman who has heard, for the first time, "You have cancer," then I need to do it. It's a debt of honor. I owe it on behalf of every single person that has helped me during this long, long year. Even if it means I have to sit for a stinking picture.