Lena, our guest blogger this month, is the H4TG Calendar Ambassador for July, 2021.
I didn’t want to go to a support group. I thought if I just went through the bad stuff, it would be over with and done. I thought it was okay to stifle the bad feelings, the fear, and to assure my family everything was fine. I felt like my insides were writhing to scream out loud as my resolve continued to deteriorate.
I had heard of Here for the Girls, but thought I was too old to go. I was afraid to be around a group of women with breast cancer. I called anyway and was introduced to a facilitator in Williamsburg who invited me to the next meeting. I was embarrassed to be there and tried to be on my best behavior – which means after about 45 minutes, I was crying.
There were young women with varying stages and types of breast cancer, including some that had been cancer-free for months to years. It was there I met Nicole, and although I truly loved meeting all the other women, Nicole and I were friends immediately. She was much younger than me, with 2 young children and a husband, while I was living with my sister at the time while I went through the journey.
We shared the same type of breast cancer, not really something you want to base friendship on, but we could talk, cry, laugh, and do it all over again. Our anxieties and fears were different, and it was cathartic to see our worlds differently and together.
It seemed our time in treatments began to fly by and take forever at the same time; she was ahead of me in the process and able to share any tips that had helped with radiation and burns. We finished our treatments expecting to be perfectly fine and move on to normalcy. We both realized quickly that those words “new normal” were words we had to embrace. We were soon separated by 1600 miles when I moved back to Texas to start a new job and be close to my daughter.
As hard it was to leave, we would not lose touch – we will keep our friendship forever.