Two weeks ago, three friends brought a very special gift to my doorstep — a hand-made quilt. The secret -— that bunches of women from my MOMS Club group had been meeting and creating a patchwork of support for me -— never got out. I was surprised and flattered and honored that so many moms contributed by cutting and sewing and assembling this gift for me. Twenty-one moms signed my quilt -— they signed their names and wrote messages like, “Before flowers grow, there must be rain. You will get a whole garden!” When I wrap up in my new quilt, I know I am not alone.
This past Friday, I participated in the Gainesville Relay for Life event. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this is an all-night walk for cancer survivors and caregivers and community supporters. I didn’t walk all night, but I did walk the survivor lap where my name was announced, along with all other survivors who walked with me.
My support team was with me at the event -— John, Joey, Danny, my mom, my sister, and my niece Jordan. We got a free meal, and I got a free t-shirt. We listened to music and visited with friends. They boys ate snow cones (Danny shared his with me) and played in a pile of dirt. And we took in the sights, which were dominated by purple shirts worn by those who are surviving cancer. Some were younger than me; some were older. Some were men, and many were women. Regardless, they are like me, and I am surely not alone.
Yesterday, I had three appointments. I received my sixth radiation treatment and then met with a radiation oncologist. Then I met with my medical oncologist — this is the doctor who oversees chemotherapy and monitors me for five years after diagnosis. This oncologist is the one who told me I do not need to continue chemotherapy and who seems genuinely concerned with my health and well-being. He takes time to answer my questions (I always have a lot) and he reminds me that I am not alone; he is my partner as I navigate this breast cancer journey.