|Sampson, Susan, Bren, Me, Amy, Linda, Layne, Ann,|
Rosemary, Tricia, Leslie, Glenna and Sandy
We came from different parts of the US and Canada. Some of us are urban dwellers while others of us are suburbanites. Most of us are done with active treatment while some of us are not. We are married, divorced and single - with children and without. We all share an affinity for liberal politics and chocolate - but were it not for breast cancer, we probably would never have met each other.
Much of our time together was spent taking pictures, eating and chatting. We talked to each other and we talked via phone, FaceTime and Skype with those in our little group who were unable to join us physically. We also talked a lot about the Zimmerman verdict, the messy art of eating steamed crabs and why tequila is sometimes a very necessary way to bond with sister-friends. Once in a while, a treatment or diagnosis story found its way into the conversation, but it wasn't a real focal point.
The trip was planned for months before we actually got together, and in the interim between all the "Hey, we should get together soon!" and the "What time should we plan to arrive?" talk, our host-to-be got some not-so-good news regarding a cancer progression. While we wondered if it was a good idea to still have our pow-wow or not, our host and her family insisted that we come to enjoy each other's company and take our sister's mind off the news, if only for a weekend. Hence the tequila.
This weekend, after digesting more bad news from our host, another of our sisters and yet another sister's husband, we all seem to be trying to hold on to the energy and serenity our time together created. I can't speak for the rest of the group, but I know I'm having a really hard time with that.
Hearing about anyone having to go another round with this beast is so very disheartening - but when it's someone you know and love, it's much worse. It's hard not to feel totally helpless and ineffective when cancer rears its ugly head again and treatment options and their side-effects start being discussed. For me, not screaming and throwing things has proven to be tough, as has not think of exactly how lives will be altered from the news. Tough to forget that the sneaky bitch that is cancer can reach out and grab any of us again - because it has.
Knowing full well that sugar-coated crap is still just as shitty, I didn't really think we'd be saying "Cheese!" when we posed for group photos. On the count of three, we yelled "Fuck Cancer!" instead.
Fuck cancer, indeed.