Last Thursday, in Dr. G's waiting room, I met a woman named Jeanne. We hit it off immediately. She just had a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction due to lobular sarcoma stage 3 and will follow up with chemo and then radiation. Her tumor was 6.5 cm at surgery. We are almost twins. We exchanged phone numbers and she asked if she could call me with questions about chemo. I think I just became a mentor. I'm happy to lend a hand. I put a smile on my face, ignored the pain in my heart, and told her chemo had several hard days every three weeks, but overall it wasn't so unpleasant. She too has a sunny disposition regarding her diagnosis, which is even more amazing given that her mother was just diagnosed ith stage 4 breast cancer.
My reason for not wanting a breast cancer mentor was that I didn't want this disease to define who I am. I wanted to be able to lean on my own girlfriends for support, not strangers. Yet this world of CANCER seems inescapable. It's around me everywhere. I feel moved to attend breast cancer walks, and I'm happy to lend my insight to a chemo newbie. I'm reminded twice a day when I take my anti-estrogen medication or when I look down at my still healing breasts that although I'm cancer free, I'm still dealing with cancer. And after all of this- The chances of not developing breast cancer in the next five years is 67%. I guess I could think of that number as close to 70%, which is really pretty good, but I can't help but feeling it's just too close to 50%, which really doesn't feel so good to me.