Monday, July 02, 2007

We do these things

Feeling helpless is my least favorite feeling in the world. I am a doer. I like having a goal and a method to get there. It doesn't bother me to be the boss, and it doesn't bother me to be a part of the team. Whatever it takes to complete the task is fine by me. I just love taking the steps to completion and getting it done.

When someone you love has cancer, there is nothing you can physically do to help them reach their goal. You can't take the pain for them for a day so that they can get some rest. You can't take every other chemo treatment for them so they can have longer to recuperate. You can't reach inside their bodies and rip the cancer out with your bare hands. You can do nothing in the active sense of the word.

I remember when my mother had cancer for the first time. She had just turned 40 a few weeks before her diagnosis. I was 7, and my brother was 11. It was Christmas Eve when they told us. In the weeks after her surgery and the months of chemo following, the walls of her room were covered in pictures, posters, cards, and letters. Each children's Sunday School class had made a poster for her with brightly colored flowers, rainbows, and stick people in varying degrees of detail. She cherished those posters, and knowing Momma, she still has them.

There is this gnawing guilt that I have been too casual about cancer. My first mammogram was on my 30th birthday, and I only half joke about the lovely perky C cups I will get when the time comes. When Whymommy asked me about getting a mammogram, I told her with no family history that she might as well wait until 40. She wouldn't be getting breast cancer.

That was only weeks ago that those words came out of my mouth. Whymommy getting breast cancer was so far off of my radar. It couldn't possibly happen to her. There is no family history. She is healthy. She has two small children and a wonderful husband. She is my friend. There is no way she will be the 1 of 8.

Then there is the fact that Whymommy is a peer. She is close in age to most of us. She is a mother. We all relate. We all feel the reality of it could happen to us. And while I've known for years that it could happen to me, there is nothing like it happening to your best friend to make you wish it couldn't happen to any of us.

So these things that we do. These posts that we write. The buttons that we post. The emails that we send. These things are for Whymommy. And they are for us. As living, breathing, caring human beings, we need to do something. We need to come together and give the collective, "Cancer, you will not defeat our friend without fighting all of us too."

We need to do this because we care. And we need to do this because we know that were we on the other side, we would hope someone would be there for us too.

And we need to do this because only a couple of us had ever even heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer before last week.

So we fight with our buttons and our posts, and we send our good thoughts and our prayers. We do these things for Whymommy, and we do them for ourselves. Our community.