Would you walk a mile in your friend’s shoes? Would you walk 60 miles?
Fourteen years ago this month, my best friends double knotted their sneakers and put on their Pepto-pink sweatshirts and set out to explore Philadelphia by foot in the Susan G. Komen Three Day for a Cure. Alison, Robin, Patty, Tara, Donna, Lisa and Rory did this for me. It was a gesture of love, friendship and support that I will never forget. Best friends who became bosom buddies.
Fifteen years ago, I was just over 40, raising three children when I was asked to “wait a minute to speak to the doctor” after what was my second mammogram ever. I felt my mouth go dry. I don’t have time for this, I thought—I was on my way to meet my husband at the middle school to talk with our daughter’s teachers. My head was already full with what we would be discussing. I barely made it through the meeting, struggled to ask the questions I had planned to ask. By the time I got home I had messages from my family doctor, my gynecologist and someone new in my life-an oncologist.
A cancer diagnosis is devastating, waiting for information on what to do about it is all-consuming. Testing, biopsies, meeting an oncologist, a surgeon and a plastic surgeon, mastectomy and lymphadenectomy, waiting again for results and finally, reconstruction—that was pretty much 2007. Add the run of the mill—one daughter in middle school dealing with drama and in the school play, a son in Little League baseball and traveling for tennis, a five-year-old learning to read and ride a two-wheeler, a husband with a demanding job, a barely trained 90 lb. Labrador retriever with an eating disorder…and I felt underwater most days.
My friends made all the difference. They lifted me up, made me laugh, took me shopping—and to myriad follow up doctor’s appointments. They brought meals, and coffees and wine. And, when a year put the trauma of cancer and surgery in my rearview mirror and I said, “Anyone wanna take a walk with me?”—they said “how far?”
We spent the summer training—meeting up for ten-mile walks that often meant I was running to find a bathroom, peeing my pants from laughing. When the walk finally came around, we were treating it as the ultimate girls’ weekend that also included raising a lot of money for breast cancer research and cute pink tee shirts that said “These Boobs Were Made for Walking.” As I was fond of saying, when life hands you lemons—turn them into cantaloupes!
I am beyond relieved to say that I remain cancer-free and still blessed that the seven women who walked with me, still walk with me. We are older now, mostly empty-nesters and scattered a little bit further away from each other. We have had other stresses, joys and sadness but luckily, other opportunities to affirm our friendship and be there for each other.
This month, Cutlery Couture is proud to donate to Susan Komen, in friendship and gratitude and in support of other women getting bad news on an otherwise ordinary day. We also remind women everywhere to please get their mammograms! Take care of your girls!
Written by our extremely talented content strategist, Maureen Dodson! Thank you for sharing your story and we are truly thankful for you and that you remain healthy and cancer-free!