When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37, I started what would be a long and difficult journey to wellness.
There were doctors to be consulted — “What's an oncologist anyway?” — surgical options to consider — “Wide incision or total mastectomy?” — hospitals to get lost in — “The cancer centre? It's beyond the psych ward.” — tests to take — “Time for another nasty MRI.” — and treatment plans to pore over — “Tamoxifen or not tamoxifen?”
There was also a partner to tell —“Whatever you do, don't panic!”— children to reassure — “No, the fact that I have cancer doesn't mean that you don't have to do your homework.” — and a boss to inform — “It's okay. The report is finished.”
Thankfully, I did not have to make this journey alone. I met other women with breast cancer along the way and they became my constant travel companions. Together we sobbed and strategized, ranted and raged, cheered and celebrated. We ate and appreciated large quantities of extremely expensive European chocolates:
“We have to eat lots of chocolate, you know.”
“Because it's an antioxidant and antioxidants have been clinically proven to prevent cancer.”
“But we already have cancer.”
“Yes…well… it will keep us from getting more cancer.”
“Is that true?”
Their struggles gave me courage — “If she can live with the uncertainty of recurrence, I can live with one breast.” Their successes inspired me — “She isn't a survivor, she's a warrior!” But it was their wit and their wisdom that sustained me through the hardest parts of surgery and recovery — “You have to take your percodan, you know. I know they make you nauseous but you'll heal faster, if you're not in constant pain. Okay, you don't have to take them. But since you have a whole bottle, you should consider selling them. Do you know how much prescription narcotics are worth on the street these days?”
As I healed, I was struck by how fortunate I was to know these women. Every woman with breast cancer should, if they want it, have the support that I had, so I created Tit-Bits.ca. I hope that through this website you will meet other women with breast cancer who will become your travel companions and that together you will find the courage, inspiration, wit and wisdom you need to make the journey more comforting.
My best to you all,