My Breast Friend

Monday, May 18, 2009 was a milestone in my life. 10-years cancer-free.

Breasts are important to pubescent girls. In Grade 7, I was teased by the in-crowd for being a late bloomer. Tomboy, they called me. How many days did I come home from school crying. Mom consoled me & taught me ‘Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never harm me.” I remember checking the newly budding areola in the mirror when I was thirteen. Found that pretty amazing and oh, so, welcome. Soon I was bugging my Mom to buy me my first bra, a 28 AA. To make the occasion even more memorable we took the CN train on a Maple Leaf excursion all the way to New York City to buy my first bra at Macy’s on an Easter weekend.

I was so proud when I returned home. Now when the local neighbourhood boys stroked my t-shirted back to see if I was grown-up or not, I had proof positive. And having a bra merited my first French kiss, not to mention drinking Tony’s dad’s homemade plonk in his basement. I can still remember the headache.

Then came the arm exercises to increase my bust size — oh and running my breasts under cold water was supposed to work too. Don’t think so.

Breasts became pretty much a fact of life except around ‘that time of the month’ when they became sensitive and reminded me of their existence. Oh, the joys of being a woman.

Fast forward to 1999, a newlywed of four years, and the discovery of a lump in my breast. Surgery was scheduled for May 18th. Waking up in the recovery room with my husband at my bedside, the doctor gave us the news. The growth was malignant, but the operation was a success and ‘we think we got it all.’ I didn’t cry much, too numb I guess. One night in the hospital, sleepless despite the Demarol and the painkillers. Then I was sent home, although I would have preferred to stay another day. Coming home with a drain in my breast was rather daunting.

Enter my best friend who flew in from Toronto to be with me that afternoon. There is no better best friend on the face of the earth than my bff, Susan.

Ten years have passed. The six weeks of radiation are but a distant memory, as well as the five years of Tamoxifen.

People say congratulations to me for being a survivor. I don’t feel that I did anything to deserve the congratulations, I am blessed beyond belief; that’s all.


13 responses to “My Breast Friend

  1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to visit and leave a comment…I’ve been swamped.

    You are indeed blessed! May you remain well & healthy!

  2. Never any need to apologize to me, sister. TY so much for your visit and well wishes. They/you mean a lot to me. Namaste.

  3. Thanks for sharing your testimony Christine!

    It’s funny, I had just finished telling someone about how breast cancer had taken my mother before reading this.

    There can be hardly a family any where that hasn’t been touched by this cursed thing.

    Your story brings them hope!

    May you continue to be blessed with strength, and good health.


  4. Thank you for being so open – will give hope to many in the midst of treatment.
    Barbara x

  5. Rabbi Shai Specht

    This blog post is inspirational and touching. Here is to 10 more years cacer free and full of light!

  6. Christine – I think we should be saying – congrats! to “us” who have the good fortune to have you as part of our circle .. virtually and in the ‘real’ world. Thank you for sharing your story and to the many women who are as courageous as you!

  7. Oh Christine…

    Terribly sorry to have taken so much time in getting here to read your wonderful story and testimony. I didn’t know about your ordeal, but I sure am grateful that you pulled through and are now an inspiration for all women — hallelujah!

    From my retreat in the beautiful Laurentian mountains — where it is presently snowing — I send you all my love and sincere wishes for many more decades of health, happiness, and music, music, music πŸ™‚

    Mudd a.k.a. Happy Oza

  8. You say you are blessed to survive, but to your loved ones, we are blessed that you survived. Whatever would we do without your perspective, your wisdom, your take on this life? It’s hard to understand the impact a loved one makes on those who love them. Surviving means SO MUCH! You may not feel like it’s an accomplishment, but it would be so easy to give up and give in. I know everyone who loves you thanks you every day for making it through. Life would never be the same without you. TRUTH, yo! ❀

  9. This post was transplanted from my other blog, so I include here all the kind comments from there:
    Blogger Elizabeth Roberts said…

    Congratulations on 10 years! Oh how I could relate to your “late bloomer” story. It made me smile in remembrance of the ‘good ol’ days’.
    God bless you!

    Mon May 18, 11:41:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    TY & for reading & commenting. It was tough wasn’t it? But we survived. God bless you, too, Elizabeth !

    Mon May 18, 11:45:00 AM
    Blogger Kneale Mann said…

    You’re right, other than being a fighter, a survivor and an inspiration, you haven’t really done much. Congratulations on this enormously important anniversary!

    Mon May 18, 02:41:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Thank you, Kneale. You’re too kind, dear friend.

    Mon May 18, 02:45:00 PM
    Blogger Robert Hruzek said…

    I’d have to second Kneale’s comments up there. You’ve done plenty!

    There’s a great phrase in the Bible that describes it well: “… and having done all, to stand…”

    Hey, you did all you could, when you had to, even if all you did was stand (and not give up).

    Sincere congratulations, and a tip o’ the hat to ya!

    Mon May 18, 03:52:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Robert, your comment brought a tear to my eye; TY, my friend — & I am honoured to call you so. & you’re right, I am never giving up.

    Mon May 18, 04:06:00 PM
    Blogger Toby said…

    Sharing your story and knowing that someone can get thru it and showing others that one can live a wonderful life is doing more than a few words can say.

    Mon May 18, 04:21:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Ah, Toby, TY for such a precious comment. I do hope I can be an inspiration for our women out there, because indeed, my life is wonder-full.

    Mon May 18, 04:25:00 PM
    Blogger ernmander said…

    It is a truly inspirational story. Life is there to be lived no matter what hey πŸ™‚

    Mon May 18, 04:57:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Ah, Ern; no more inspirational than the next guy/gal’s. But hey, thank you so much for reading and commenting. You are the wind beneath my wings πŸ™‚

    Mon May 18, 05:00:00 PM
    Blogger lizwebpage said…

    Ah, a wonderful story and such a happy, happy ending.

    Funny how such a silly bit of flesh can become a point of identity in our formative years.

    Frankly, I am thankful for the experience and wisdom that comes from transcending the superficiality of “nice casabas, baby!”

    We’re more than the sum of our parts. Ain’t it grand? You are an inspiration, and thanks for sharing your story!


    Mon May 18, 05:13:00 PM
    Blogger Bridget said…

    I am so happy that you are celebrating 10 years of cancer free! It’s awesome!
    What I am most inspired by, that you live each day with the appreciation that you may not have been here to have it! You are inspiring me to get out there and live my life that way too!

    Mon May 18, 05:14:00 PM
    Blogger YatPundit said…

    you may not feel like you deserve congratulations, but how about if we all congratulate ourselves that you’re still around so we can share in your success πŸ™‚

    Mon May 18, 05:15:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Never heard ‘casabas’ in these parts, Liz. πŸ™‚ Nevertheless, must tell you that I got my comeupance when I found out that the ringleader that was jeering me was wearing falsies ! Boy, did I enjoy exposing her ! You are so right, it is grand and it’s all good ! Thank you, Liz !

    Mon May 18, 05:17:00 PM
    Blogger lizwebpage said…

    Ha! Love that. It always seems to be the way that the bullies were lacking what they mercilessly tortured us for. Alas and alack. If only we could all just get along. But that’s another post.

    Today, we celebrate you and the way you inspire everyone who is struggling, who felt as you did on that day you were diagnosed. By not only surviving but by also being such an awesome chiquita, you are lighting the path for those who lie in darkness right now. You give strength, and that makes you special.

    Keep at it!

    Mon May 18, 05:39:00 PM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    I have always considered myself a Lightworker & bless you, Liz, for acknowledging that & for your words of encouragement. Your kind words are over the top. If you know of a specific someone who is in darkness right now, feel free to send them my way and I shall do what I can. In Light & Love !

    Mon May 18, 05:49:00 PM
    Blogger Tumblemoose said…

    My girlfriend went through this as well a while back.

    Courageous, all of you.


    Mon May 18, 09:31:00 PM
    Blogger Joanna said…

    What a wonderful day to celebrate all that’s good in life πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your story with us, and thanks for sharing so much love and happiness with us day by day.


    Tue May 19, 01:50:00 AM
    Blogger Susan Dore said…

    You truly are an inspiration, my sweet bff! Loved your first blog entry in two years. In the words of Amy Sky “When the music starts to play, do you turn and walk away, or do you dance?” truly suits you, as I’ve said before. You dance, girl!!!

    Tue May 19, 10:04:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Bridget, and I thought my optimism came naturally ! πŸ˜‰ TY, dear one, for taking the time from your Great Work to write.

    Tue May 19, 11:15:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Yo Yat, you always make me smile, TY for that. And hey, there’s an unlimited amount of success to go around, so share away !

    Tue May 19, 11:19:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Joanna, TY for taking time from your busy writer’s life to leave your thoughts here. As far as the sharing goes, you are forever welcome. πŸ™‚

    Tue May 19, 11:22:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Ern, no matter what hey, eh! πŸ˜‰

    Tue May 19, 11:23:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    Tumblemoose, please give your GF a big hug from me. I know you can do it πŸ˜‰

    Tue May 19, 11:24:00 AM
    Blogger 8121949 said…

    My sweet bff Susan, We’ve been dancing since we were 13 and nuttin’s gonna stop us !!! xox

    Tue May 19, 11:26:00 AM

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