Monday, July 03, 2006

Hello, my name is Courtney and I have breast cancer...

I went to my first support group meeting last Thursday. "But Courtney, you've had cancer for months, why a support group now?" Well, my friends, it is two fold... First of all, I am in a brand new city, where I don't know many people. Call it socializing, cancer style. Secondly, I never had a support group within easy access before... You know, living in the boonies and all. And thirdly, yeah, I suppose there's a thirdly, I have not actually spoken aloud about my feelings, in person, to anyone but my husband. Sure, I've talked about options, procedures, yada yada yada when I've seen my family, and I've talked about it with friends on the phone, but my friends live hundreds of miles away. I guess why maybe this blog has become more important to me than I originally planned.

So anyway, I decided it was time to speak some of this shit aloud. It was really nice. We all go to the same hospital, all have the same doctors, and we're all under 40. The rare breed. And we talked, we laughed, and yes, there was a little bit of tears. It's very hard to be witty through tears.

I was sitting there with this group of brave, strong, beautiful young women who had such balls to be going through all this. And again, I was inspired by their talents, their insight, their perspective. And I was pissed at the same time. Pissed that this disease - at any time - has made these women feel scared and alone. Pissed that it made them feel like something had been taken from them. Pissed that at any point they felt less than themselves. Pissed that they had to "recover" from anything. We shouldn't have to be worrying about this. We should be meeting boys and getting drunk and getting married. We should be having fun and having babies and having heart palpitations over our first house payment.

When I was diagnosed, I spent a lot of time (and still do) in the chat room on These women walked me through my pathology results, gave me ideas for side effect management, laughed with me over those side effects... When we weren't crying through them that is. They gave me ideas on shaving my head, what to eat during chemo and what questions to ask. Mostly, though, they gave me a place to talk about the disease and not have to explain it, not have to rationalize my feelings and not have to comfort the person you're talking to. They have been sisters and mothers and grandmothers to me, when they have absolutely not reason to be. In turn, as I move through this disease, I have hoped that I could be that to another woman who has the unfortunate ability to join our club.

So I was so glad I got to be a part of a real life support group. I am happy to do all these things face to face- to see the recognition on another's eyes as they tell you without saying a thing that they understand completely. TO laugh together over chemo stubble or peeing blue. And sometimes, maybe cry a little. Cuz after all, we are girls. And it wouldn't be a group of girls talking about feelings without some tears.

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