Friday, December 5, 2008

Reality check.

I don't like to post about most personal stuff. I don't see this blog as an online diary, but today, I found out some news that I feel like I need to write about. But I'm going to keep names a secret.

Less than two months ago, I participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. At the event, there were lots of women wearing shirts with the names of loved ones printed or written on them, and at one point, I was asked to wear a sticker and had to fill in the blank after "I'm doing this for..." I didn't know what to write. I didn't know anyone who had breast cancer. As far as I knew, none of my close friends had a mother who had gone through the ordeal. The women in my family are fine. I remember thinking,"Ehh...I don't know who I'm doing this for. I'll just write 'All Women'." The sad part is that it never crossed my mind to feel FORTUNATE that I didn't have anything to write in that blank space, the way I nonchalantly decided on 'All Women.'

Today, I have a name to put in that blank.

This morning, I found out that someone I am friends with and at one point in my life, was a mentor, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Ever since I found out, I've been sitting at work, staring at my computer screen, unable to think about anything except repeating the word "cancer" over and over again in my head. My first thought was "Why her? Why now? This isn't fair."

My second thought was fear. She isn't that much older than me. If it can happen to her, it can happen to me. This is the first time something like breast cancer has hit so close to home, and I'm not dealing with it very well. It's kind of funny. I've been reading the blog she started about battling her cancer and she's generally upbeat and has maintained her sense of humor through the whole situation. And here I am - on the other side of the country and a complete wreck because I can't do anything to help.

As cliche as it sounds, I've had the biggest reality check of my life today. In a matter of seconds, every perception I had about being a woman changed. Cancer happens. It can happen to anyone. It can happen at any time.

The one thought I find solace in is that I know this friend is strong. In fact, she's probably one of the strongest people I know. She doesn't take shit from anyone, so this cancer better watch its back. She'll kick its ass before it even knows what happened. Ninja style.

Good vibes and prayers are being sent to California. Great big, ginormous panda-infused vibes...