Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sharing is Caring – Day 19


“Sharing is caring.”

I think I first saw that comment on the blog of a fellow breast cancer survivor and #bcsm community member.

My incision was healing, my OncotypeDX results were pending and she was sharing explicit details and photos of her in-progress breast reconstruction.

The phrase seemed slightly off-beat and mildly amusing considering the context but the more time I spent in various cancer support communities the more I understood the concept.

Sharing food or wealth is an obvious expression of compassion but sharing your cancer story is tantamount to sharing your soul. As a general rule, newly diagnosed patients are overwhelmed, under-educated in medical terminology and highly anxious.

Doctors give you options. Friends and family give you love but veteran patients are the only ones who can simultaneously validate your fears and calm your nerves. They share their story and somewhat ease your burden by tacitly saying, “You are not alone.”

Tomorrow I visit the mammography clinic for what will most likely be the last time ever.

I’m nervous. My first mammogram didn’t go so well.

Yet I need only send out a signal to those men and women who’ve been down a similar road and they will remind me that scanxiety is normal. They will wish me luck and send positive energy. I will ask questions and they will share everything they can with me or anyone else that needs a hand to hold down this bumpy road.

For this compassionate community, I am profoundly grateful.