Just to put it out there first off – I am absolutely blessed to have the rockstar husband that I do! He is a tremendous support and we are pretty much one being. I honestly don’t know what my life would be without him. Also, my Dad, Father-in-law, and brother-in-laws have all always been so wonderful and supportive of me too, however, they are not female! And this post is dedicated to the AMAZING women in my life!
There is something about having strong women in your life that truly makes a difference. A HUGE difference! Sometimes you feel a certain way or need someone to understand, commiserate, empathize or sympathize with you and for some reason only a woman can be that person. I have had excellent examples of strong women throughout my life. My Mother was strong, brave, loving, sweet and funny (to list just a few). She taught me so many wonderful things and had an impact on many lives. At her work at the university she was always referred to as the “Mom away from home.” Something she wrote to me in a letter when I was away doing an apprenticeship before my senior year in high school is something I reflect on often. She had said if she could, she would take away all of the bad things that happen to me and make everything good all the time. She then said that “without the bad times the good times wouldn’t seem so good”. That is so true! If things were always wonderful, what would you have to compare them with to know that they are indeed wonderful? I feel cheated to have lost out on so many years with my Mom, but blessed to have had her for 18 years.
I am extremely fortunate to have been blessed with such an amazing Mother-in-law, who has been through a lot with me: my Mother’s death, my wedding, my college graduations, the birth of my babies, and my recent decisions and surgeries regarding my BRCA1 status. She has been a rock for me and has always treated me like one of her daughters. She came and stayed with us for two weeks following my initial mastectomy surgery. She took wonderful care of the boys, cooked, cleaned, did laundry, made beds, shopped and of course took excellent care of me! I am so lucky to have her.
I have also been blessed in life with 2 sisters and 4 sister-in-laws (whom I’ve known since I was 14!). My sisters (all of them above!) are an incredibly important part of my life. Something my Mother always told us girls was to be nice to one another because one day we were all each other might have. These wonderful ladies have lent ears, given advice and been solid supports through all of this. As a collective unit they came to the hospital every day, made me a surgery basket (that included everything but the kitchen sick!), picked up food and goodies for my husband, brought dinners, sent flowers and goody baskets, called, sent supporting, loving texts, cards and messages, and even dry-washed and brushed my hair when I was still in the hospital and not able to shower yet! My sisters are so sweet and kind – I love them so!
I also have several close female friends who are truly wonderful women who have been so sweet and supportive to me for, well, as long as I’ve known them! One of my dear friends told me she couldn’t figure out how to send yummy hot lasagna, so chocolate and coffee would have to do! Oh darn! I guess if I have to suffer, I’ll force myself to eat chocolate and drink coffee *sigh*! :)
I am so thankful to my family, including many fantastic aunties, and friends – they mean the world to me.
During my search for support and information regarding my choices and decisions for being BRCA1 positive, I found many support groups. FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), I already blogged about here. Another one is BRCA Sisterhood on Facebook. It was started by Teri Smieja and Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz. BRCA Sisterhood is a place where you can post anything you need to ask, share or vent about: questions regarding surgeries, screening, doctor appointments, concerns, fears, triumphs, etc. I have found the ladies on this site to be so sincere, helpful and understanding. They are there to lend an ear, ease your worries, tame your fears, or just give you a virtual hug when that’s all that can be said at times. One of the kind ladies on the Sisterhood mentioned the nausea patch to me after my horrendous experience after my initial surgery. Having that tidbit of information allowed me to ask my doctor and get a major reprieve from nausea after my second surgery! What I’m trying to say is it’s extremely helpful to have a support base that truly understands what you are going through and what you are feeling. My family means the world to me, but it has also been a blessing to have found BRCA Sisterhood and have another group of women that want to help, listen and love.
Below is the definition of sisterhood:
Main Entry: sis•ter•hood
Date: 14th century
1 a : the state of being a sister b : sisterly relationship
2 : a community or society of sisters; especially : a society of women in a religious order
3 : the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns
I especially love #3 “the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns.” Doesn’t that seem to include all of us? Even our mothers and friends are part of a sisterhood with us because of a solidarity we all share, even if it’s just being a woman. That is the remarkable thing about women – we bond with each other. Even if it’s not someone we know all that well – we are willing to help, listen, and share. We want to help others out and don’t like to see someone suffer or feel alone. We are there for each other because that’s what we do. I am so happy to be a part of numerous sisterhoods in which I have created everlasting bonds with wonderful women who have taught me how to be a better woman.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! All of you tremendous women in my life who have shown me love, compassion, kindness, strength, bravery and courage. I am forever in your debt.
Until next time, here’s to WOMEN, STRENGTH and SISTERHOODS!