The following blog post was posted today by someone who has become a really close friend of mine. She is a fellow survivor who is battling breast cancer as we speak. Her own blog is posted to the left.
What A Difference Two Years Makes…21 Jul
The picture below was taken less than two years ago. It is a picture of me with Danielle Murray, my friend, who was fighting breast cancer at the time of the picture. She was diagnosed just before her 30th birthday and her diagnosis and prognosis was scary. Her blog link is to the right side of my blog if you are interested in reading about her story.
We honored her as our Warrior Princess mascot at the 2009 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk along with several other survivors. I watched Danielle, from a distance, while she fought against breast cancer. I didn’t know her very well (I knew her Mom better) but I kept up with her blog and was humbled by her strength, her dignity, and her spirit as she fought her battle. Danielle had many rounds of chemo, 12 months of herceptin, 5 (on-going)years of tamoxifen, radiation, and a lumpectomy – not in that order. Every time I was around Danielle she was smiling, she was honest about her fight and her side effects, but most of all she was optimistic and strong. I remember thinking how amazing she was because she was just going about her life, working when she could, and living life around cancer the best way she knew how. I also remember wondering how I would handle myself in her position. Would I be in the corner crying, balled up, feeling horrible, whining, and repeating over and over “why me?” Danielle not only fought her battle and won, she and her hubby Dan were able to adopt a precious infant in November 2009 as she put breast cancer behind her and became a Mom.
So fast forward almost two years to early 2011. I was writing some vague comments on my facebook about finding a lump and having a diagnostic mammogram and asking for prayers. Out of the blue I get an email from Danielle that says “are you freaking kidding me – you???” – this was the beginning of a deeper friendship. Danielle has texted me, emailed me, facebooked me, had lunch with me, and called me – millions of times. She has offered non-stop support, advice, and comparisons, she has offered to go wiglet shopping with me – hat shopping – and asked if I needed rides to chemo appointments or any other appointments. There is nothing off-limits to discuss when it comes to side effects or surgical questions with Danielle. She has been relentless in the pursuit of answers and research for breast cancer. So for me, she was a huge, HONEST, library of knowledge.
Last night was my Pink Drink party to celebrate the end of chemo and Danielle was one of the first people there. She didn’t know anyone – but yet, she came, to support me and celebrate with the rest of us – NO MORE CHEMO ! I kept looking at her last night and thinking to myself how beautiful she looks, her hair has grown back in, she is tan (sunscreen Danielle – sunscreen), she looks so healthy and her smile lights up the room. I kept thinking that maybe that will be me in two years (without the tan of course). I know she worries about recurrence because we have talked about it many times. Having cancer once leaves you with a small dent in your amour, a small question mark for your future, and every time you have aches, pains, or a persistent cough, your mind wonders…..I know this not only because my breast cancer friends have told me, but I lived through it watching and worrying over my Mom. So, mainly I wanted to thank Danielle for being such a strong and positive role model. She showed us all back then how you CAN handle being diagnosed with cancer. Had I not had her as a role model I probably would be piled in the corner, drooling, crying, asking “why me”, depressed and devastated.
What a difference two years makes, she was sick, she fought, she won, she became a Mom, she is now healthy and beautiful; I got married, I blended my family with Kevin’s, I was diagnosed, I am/was sick, now I am battling the same battle with some of the same treatments as Danielle. As I watched her last night, I could not help but hope and pray that I will be in her spot two years from now. Healthy, happy, healed, and supporting someone else thru this dreadful fight. I truly believe it’s all about faith, hope, strength, and helping someone else…I know that God is going to use my diagnosis for good. Somehow. I thank God that He placed Danielle in my life two years ago – she has been one heck of a chemo friend. I firmly believe that every chemo patient needs someone, who has been through it already, to be really honest with them about what they can expect, like Danielle was with me.
I thought these two pictures would capture what I am trying to say better than I am saying it. Because you just never know when you are going to be in someone else’s “hat”.