August 2, 2012, was my year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. A year since I picked up my keys to my timeshare in Cancerland. A year since the cancerous mass (and those waiting to bloom) in Lefty was removed, along with Righty and all the lumps she held. It has been a year of ups and downs, and one that I could not have made alone. I am grateful for those I’ve met along the way who have helped me through this process.
One of my biggest sources of support has been an amazing group of ladies I’ve never met. Early into my journey I joined an online group for ladies with various shapes and forms of breast cancer. I found my way into the August 2011 space and began to make friend with “invisible” people. I was glad to be able to share with others going through the same fears and triumphs.
One thing that really helped me was meeting other professional women with a timeshare. One of these invisible women was called “blondelawyer,” I assume because she had blonde hair and worked as an attorney. She started the August 2011 surgery group. We shared our fears and hopes.
Blondelawyer had a more aggressive form of breast cancer than I did, and as all the gals in the August group had their surgeries and began various treatments to get better, she seemed to get worse. She had lost her husband five months before she was diagnosed at 32. He was 34 and had CP. Blondelawyer still kept going–posting pics of her new wigs in various colors, detailing the care provided to her by her beloved father-in-law, as her own father died unexpectedly soon after her husband. She was a constant source of hope and inspiration to me.
But, like invisible people will, Blondelawyer drifted out of my life. I found other groups of ladies to virtually hang with, and we all went on with our treatments and lives. But, she was always on my mind, and I always wondered how she was getting on with her treatment, her mourning, and her life.
Last week, almost a year to the day that I had my surgery that got me into the club, Blondelawyer died at 34. Her last post on her blog is just one sentence… “I miss my husband…” She detailed all the pain she was going through, all the despair she was feeling…and her loss of hope when the doctor told her the disease had advanced to the point that they gave her only a year to live.
She didn’t make it. And even though she was an invisible friend, the loss of her in my life is a visible hole. She was the reason I felt secure going into my surgery a year ago. She gave me hope and was a source of inspiration for me. Now she’s gone. I don’t want to be selfish, because her pain, both physical and psychic, was enormous. However, I feel cheated that I didn’t get to know more of this beautiful person.
Last year, looking forward, I never thought I would have had to experience the tribulations I have. It would have been too much to handle all at once to know I would undergo five (I think) surgeries in such a short span of time. The keys to my timeshare seem to be securely on my keychain even though I keep giving them back. Getting through all this would have been impossible without my invisible friends.
One year later, I thought I would maybe get to know my friend Blondelawyer as she healed. Instead, I mourn her passing, and hope she has peace with her darling husband in a happier place. May her memory be for a blessing.