Welcome to our “Pink Link Stories” blog series! These stories are from women who are a part of (or support) our virtual Pink Link community for breast cancer survivors (pinklink.org). Each quarter, we offer a new writing prompt — this quarter, we asked women to share a story about helping another woman with breast cancer. We will publish a few of those entries* here (lightly edited for length and typos), and we’ll also be randomly selecting one entrant each quarter to receive a $50 gift card! If you want to keep up with future writing prompts, sign up for our newsletter here. (* Due to the number of entries, we cannot guarantee all entries will be posted on our blog and we reserve the right to post based on our discretion.)
In June of 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 2a, triple negative breast cancer. While fighting this battle, I met a young lady who was battling not only breast cancer, but also Stage 4 lung cancer. Before I got to know her, I observed her daily activities through her posts on Facebook and thought to myself, how in the world does she do it? She instantly became my SHE-RO. After treatment she would hit the gym or the track to work out. Meanwhile, I was too sick to do anything.
As the days went by, I began to see less of her but thought of her always. Then one day we ran into each other. We hugged and exchanged information. Late at night we would have our chats about the journey and committed to supporting one another no matter what. I eventually finished my chemo treatments and moved on to surgery and later radiation, while she was still undergoing chemo treatments. During this time, we didn't talk as often because radiation took a toll on me. When I was finally done with all of my treatments in March of 2016, it was time to heal. Many did not understand this process, but I knew one person understood. We started back calling and texting each other as the days went by and then suddenly, I didn't hear from her. No returned calls or inbox messages. I grew a bit concerned but I didn't have anyone to connect with to check on her. Then one day, I saw a post on her page from her son. He was scared and needed help. I sent him a message and told him to call me. Earlier that evening while having dinner with her son, she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. After hearing this, I threw my clothes on and drove to meet him.
From that point on, I stayed with her. Her son didn't know what to do and although she had a few friends by her side, no one really understood what was happening. They kept her in the hospital for a couple of weeks and then eventually released her... the cancer had spread to her brain rapidly and there was nothing else they could do. The last two weeks of her life, while trying to heal myself from the pain and stiffness that chemo left me with, I made sure to keep my word to her by helping her fight. Each day when she would wake up, her mother and I would pray over her and I would make her a breakfast juice or smoothie. Afterwards, we would get dressed and I would wheel her outside to get some sunlight for a few minutes and then bring her back in so that she could rest. Her mother eventually made her way down and was so grateful for my help. We agreed that I would stay and continue to help because it was needed as her health was declining quickly. It was challenging, but I remembered my promise to her. I didn't give up on her, even up until she took her last breath.
Since then, I have committed my life to helping others that have been impacted by can't-cer; to be a light of HOPE, when at times it seems like there is none. I started a Facebook group just for women in my local area to help support one another. From time to time we meet up to rally around each other because we have a special bond.