Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Ya-Yas

First of all, I apologize for not writing in a while. In all my "Grabbing cancer by the throat" shenanigans, I went out and got a life. My parents were in town, I flew to Chicago for a wedding, my brother came to visit. I drove said brother and husband around while they drank and got giggly and decided that yes, 12:30 am was a perfect time to give my parents a call... You get the picture.

Last week I met the Ya-Yas. You, know- like the book? (or movie starring Sandra Bullock that was not as good as the book?) The Ya-Yas were an amazing group of crazy southern women who did anything for each other. Oh, and they were usually drunk.

A friend of a friend's mother lives here in Hotlanta, and through this friend, she offered to take me to her support group. I wasn't sure, as I had gone to a support group already, but hell- it was a Thursday afternoon and I hadn't been to that part of the city yet.

As I drove up, a "mom looking" woman starts yelling across the parking lot, "Courtney?! Is that you? (YA-YA clue #1). I greet her and she immediately gives me a huge hug. I felt immediately like I had found my new southern mom.

Little did I know I would meet 15 more.

The minute I walked in the room, I was handed a hot pink feather boa. (YA-YA Clue #2) It was someone's birthday. (YA-YA Clue #3) Later, she would receive a long flowing wig... for her still short hair. It was amazing and black and had a huge grey streak and matted and would look excellent with a fake nose and wart and painted hat. (Clue #4)

When we began talking, I mentioned something about my younger radiation oncologist... to which the room perked up and we spent 10 minutes discussing cute doctors. The group informed me they kept a list of doctors to recommend but they considered Dr. McDreamy's to be a special section of that list. The group agreed having cute doctors was definitely a plus, if not a requirement. At one point, there was discussion of a particular doctor, to which it was mentioned they kept a picture of him. Eye candy is very important when you have cancer. (Clue #5)

Later, my southern mom informed me she has a terrible potty mouth. That it was amazing she went the whole meeting without saying "Fuck." My kind of girl. (Clue #6)

While there was no booze involved, I'm sure that was just a condition of the group being held in a church. I'm sure these women could toss back a few.

More importantly than the antics, however, was the true true support I received, even being so much younger than most of these women. It's like I walked into a huge hug the minute I walked in the room. I automatically felt like they would take care of me. Women offered to accompany other women to appointments, they offered advice on doctors, insurance, anything. They meet every week and I could tell that this group was a lifeline for many- and for some, many years out of treatment, it was a way to support those traveling through behind them.

This was a group of smart, funny, strong, beautiful women. They inspired me. They educated me. They made me laugh. And more and more, they made me proud to be a part of "the club".

Because if it brings out such generosity of spirit, it can't be all bad, can it?



Chris said...

It sounds like the cancer equilvalent of the Red Hat Club!!!! I'm so glad it worked out for you and the potty-mouthed Katie B.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you found this group. It sounds fantastic for you! I am also wondering when we will get more pictures of your dogs...

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic school teacher, I'd love it if the support group is true to ya-ya form and paints the toes of the statue of Mary... take pictures if this happens. The priests might not think it's so funny, but I think it would be amusing.

These women are a glimpse into your future in that they're showing you that everything is going to be OK!