Shortly after my diagnosis someone referred to breast cancer as “the Sisterhood that nobody wants to join.” A kind of conscription-based sorority, with an irrevocable lifetime membership.
Once you’re in, the Sisters just kind of …find you. You can be anywhere, doing something perfectly ordinary, and – poof! – a perfect stranger suddenly appears with a knowing look, a quick question, and a kind word or good deed.
It’s a bit creepy, but in a nice way. And it’s uncanny how they spot you. Well, maybe not “uncanny” – the bald head is a bit of a give-away and if you’re a woman, statistically chances are it’s breast cancer.
I never liked the idea of sororities – and if forced to sign up for a women’s club I definitely wouldn’t have picked this one. Yet here I am: a full-fledged member of the Sisterhood, benefitting from the kindness of people I’ve never met or barely know. The woman at the bank, the woman at the EI office, Libby, Amy, Patty, the woman in the grocery store, the women who read and comment on this blog…The list is long.
No matter how much support you have from family and friends, the women in the Sisterhood have a special way of taking the “alone” factor out of cancer. They take it and stomp up and down on it and kick it in the hind parts for good measure. They show you that you can manage because they managed, and they’re still managing. No one makes you feel like you can beat it quite like someone who has the battle scars to prove it can be done. Even if it’s only done a day at a time.