Circle of Care

By Molly MacDonald

When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the spring of 2005, part of what made the cancer journey bearable and contributed to my healing came about from weekly Sharing and Caring meetings with seven other sister “survivors” in treatment.

Sitting on folding chairs in a circle on Wednesday afternoons at Beaumont Hospital, we were each given time to tell our story, share our challenges and concerns and care for each other in ways, the other 7 in 8, who will NOT be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, ever could.

While the details of each story differed, the concerns at their very core, were the same, “Will I survive?”

It didn’t occur to me then, that this small group of women might one day find ourselves standing in a very different circle, bedside, around one of sisters who will shortly join another statistic, one of the 40,000 women who will die from breast cancer this year.

Or that another one of our sisters would not be able to join us because her blood levels were too low to risk potential exposure to infection, because she too is fighting for her life; two out of seven who  missed the five year survivor mark and for whom, the cancer has returned and  entered their bones and brains.

Yesterday as we gathered to care for one of us, Communion was given and received, Amazing Grace was sung by an out of tune, out of key, unrehearsed choir of women, whose countenance was marred by a “deer in headlights” look of “Will this be me one day?” as tears of sorrow streamed down our cheeks.

When I returned home, I sent an email to the one who was absent from our circle.  Her response reflected her certain future, “I need to go see her, because I need to know what the end looks and feels like.”

None of us know when the end will come, but each of us knows how important sharing and caring is to our well being.

If you are looking to give or receive support for breast cancer, there are two organizations nationally who are providing Amazing Grace for the journey.

Please visit, www.pink-link.org, www.imermanangels.org

Who or what has helped you more than survive your cancer journey?

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