I really appreciate my friends. For me they are as much my family as anything else in the world. They make me laugh, think, wonder, and enjoy life in a way I could not otherwise. What I love about my friends is that they are so varied. There are some friends with whom I have a purely intellectual interaction. There are other friends where that intellectual need sits right alongside making funny faces, singing off key, and acting like monkeys. Other friendships weave in music, popular culture, and politics into the fabric. Some of my friends are strictly virtual, some who I see all of the time, some I see infrequently, some friendships are over thirty years old and going strong, others newer and developing. Whomever they are, whatever they do, all of my friends are unique and special individuals and I would be that much poorer without them in my life.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew that the way I would not only learn about the disease, but learn how to deal with the disease, was by making friends with this one lousy thing that we had in common. Some friends, I would learn, had fought back cancer, some work acquaintances had breast cancer in the past and it opened up a whole new opportunity to be friends going forward. Through this blog I have met patient advocates, women with breast cancer or other cancers, caregivers, physicians, and just all around cool folks who liked my blog and didn’t have any connection to cancer (thank the gods!). And then there were the knitters.
Knitters never miss an opportunity to knit and gab! It’s a very social thing to do. Throw in some wine and some goodies and it’s a party. So on December 9 I had the distinct pleasure of hosting a small gathering of knitters to talk yarn, projects, and breast cancer here at Sarcastic Boob World Headquarters. We were all in different stages of cancer, experienced different treatments, and lived with differences in our prognoses–but no one was concerned with details or splitting hairs in this group. We were all in the same damned boat!
I learned a lot from my fellow knitters–from the work they do (one is an opera singer!), to where they live (one has lived in all five boroughs of NYC!), to having doctors in common. One of my guests had family who used to live in this building, so it was like a little trip home in a way. But the strength that filled my living room was impressive. All of these women have endured (or are presently enduring) chemical warfare and surgeries while working, raising their families, being wives, girlfriends, friends, and mothers. They face this monster head on and triumph to live their lives like rock stars.
For one day I was in a room with other women who knew exactly what it was like to live with the real sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. They knew the fear, the anger, the frustration and, yes, they knew (and welcomed) the humor. It was a safe zone where no one judged, fears were expressed, and support, friendship, and love were given in abundance. It was great fun and I can’t wait to do it again.