I have not connected with others who have gone through or are going through the same thing as me. Yesterday a woman I work with came up to me and said that when she was going through cancer the number one thing that helped her was joining a support group. Talking and being with people who really understood because they were facing the same thing.
I am sure she is right. It was definitely reading through breast cancer discussion boards – essentially eavesdropping on other women’s conversations – that helped me make the double mastectomy decision. That, and reading about Christina Applegate (and seeing her fabulous new boobs – can I look just like that please?) and watching Giuliana and Bill, the reality show about E talk show host Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill (first winner of The Apprentice), who happen to be going through the same thing in this season’s episodes.
But I haven’t actually written anything on any of those boards. And while so many of my friends and family have offered to connect me to people they know who have been through this, I haven’t taken anyone up on it. Yes, I guess I’ve still been holding on to that last bit of denial.
You probably wouldn’t know it by talking to me. At work, so many people know that I’m almost surprised when someone doesn’t. As people have heard just that I’ll be out, they’ve asked where I’m going – somewhere nice? Somewhere tropical? Poor Steve, I just spurted “breast cancer” and shrugged. His eyes widened and mouth dropped, and I felt so bad for saying it that way. “I’m sorry,” I explained, “It’s just become automatic.” So it appears I have faced it and am sailing through, but as a handful know, it’s not necessarily true. I have a lot of dealing to do. And I should probably start by making some of those connections…