Saturday, 22 June 2013

In memory of a TBC

This week one of the TBCs passed away. She fought a mighty battle right until the end. Her memory will live on.

I do not presume to know my TBC better than any other. I do not presume that I can grasp the weight so heavy on those closest to her. One thing I can be sure of is that this TBC would want others to learn more about Infammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). Out of the TBCs, she was the only one who had this particular breast cancer.

I quickly recall her telling her cancer story. For her, her battle began when she fought for doctors to acknowledge that something sinister was in her body. I recall her frustration. I recall her anger. Certainly, googling cannot replace the need for professional advice. But, surely we can all agree, that sometimes we do need to take our health into our own hands!

Don't get me wrong, I do respect our advances in medicine. But, our doctors are not perfect. Sometimes they do get it wrong. This TBC can be admired for her persistance to fight; even in the early days.

So, for her, I take this opportunity to plead with you to get to know about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Please have a conversation with someone about it. It's important.

With that been said, there is far more to this TBC than cancer. It is with mixed emotions that I await the opportunity to say goodbye and join in celebration of her life early next week.

As I dance around the lounge with my pink and purple mates (and the blue one), I think of this Tough Beautiful Chick. It is a priviledge to be here, in this moment. In her honour, I will try my best to appreciate each and every moment.

     "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"
                                                                   - Earl of Chesterfield

Saturday, 8 June 2013

A Tribute

It was quite sometime ago that I gained the permission of my chemo buddies to write about them and include a photograph. And, while I admit that I have been totally slack in keeping you up-to-date, I have to also admit that without cancer, my life has gotten very busy again. I'm not sure if that's entirely good...but it's the truth of the matter.

What follows is how I met my cancer buddies. The Tough Bald Chicks. The TBCs.

The first TBC was a friend. When her story of having an operation hit facebook I didn't realise that it was cancer related. I certainly didn't expect to be a few steps behind her. So, via facebook, I shared my diagnosis with her. It was also her who gave me parking tips, prepared me for the large crowd of women at the Breast Clinic and who gave me the warmest of hugs on the morning I was to meet with the team who would operate to remove my cancerous tumour. I am so grateful to have had her alongside me. I even smile to myself when I think of the late night chats we had, sharing our weird and wonderful side effects, because the steroid medication would not allow us to sleep. Thank you, you are an inspiration.

It was this very same TBC, I introduced above, who shared the story of another women who was going through cancer treatment. So, one afternoon , I met her in Breast Clinic. Breast Clinic, it's the place to make friends apparently...

This tall women dressed in colours bounded up to the scales. (Have I ever mentioned that you get weighed in for each chemo session so that they can be sure that they are giving you the right amount of drugs to kill all of your healthy cells but not necessasily you?) She had laughed with the nurse and then bounded back to her seat. It's strange that I recall such detail, two years on, but the truth of the matter is she impacted me. I was amazed at her jovial banter and certainly inspired by this women who hid her bald head beneathe a scarf.  Later, she would share her fears about cancer (we all had those) and yet, her will to fight was so inspiring. Thank you, you are an inspiriation.

I first caught eye of this next TBC in the Breast Clinic. Did I already mention that Breast Clinic is where you make friends? She was beautiful. I thought cancer patients were grey and unsmiling. Well, she broke the mold that I held of cancer patients, that's for sure. She wore a strategically placed trendy hat, so as to hide her loss of hair. What stood out for me though was this woman's great big smile and her contagious laughter. She hadn't just been having a good day either. No matter her circumstances she has always shown an unrelenting desire to laugh cancer in its face. Thank you, you are an inspiration.

When I first sat in that chemo chair, I was close to another women who would later become a TBC. I certianly felt to be the drab one at the chemo lounge. Is it weird that I remember such detail...She had the best wig, very natural, and I remember admiring her boots. Again, I was overwhelemed with the couragious attitude of a cancer paitient and hoped that some of that would rub onto me. This TBC has gone to incredible lengths to promote breast cancer awareness and has sacrificed much of her time to raise funds for cancer research. Wow! Keep up the good work. Thank you, you are an inspiration.

I have to admit that, it wasn't the women who would become a TBC that I noticed first, in this instance. It was her daughter. I'll admit it, I loved her beautiful, long hair and with my hair gone I was certainly having a little hair-envy.  For a couple of chemo sessions, I would see a mother with her daughter sitting by her side. It would certainly take a courageous young woman to sit by their mum in the chemo lounge. But, she did it. She is certianly a testament to her parents. And so, when I finally, officially met this next TBC, I wasn't surprised to find a kind, warm-hearted caring and certianly courageous women. She has always offerend such gentle words of encouragement. Thank you, you are an inspiration.

Then I met the funniest of the TBCs. When I sat next to this TBC, the time went by so fast that I may even go as far as to say that it was my best chemo session ever. To this TBC, thank you for the laughs. You have shown so much courage and strength. And, through it all you have maintained a postive outlook. How do you do it? Thank you, you are an inspiration.

Thank you TBCs. You are always in my heart xxxxx