I awoke this morning at 3am which isn’t that unusual for me for it happens often. In fact, when I have these in the middle of the night awakenings, they are often accompanied by insightful messages and ideas which I use to write about in my blogs. Last night’s 3:33am thought has flourished into an idea which I hope to expand upon another day. But for now, I wanted to talk about connections.
Have you ever met someone and immediately felt a connection ~ felt like you’ve known them, immediately begun to tell them things that not many others know about you and felt safe doing it? Just knowing it was right to share? I have enjoyed that gift in my life many times ~ and a few have been life altering in a good way and for JAngel (you know who you are) I am very grateful.
Yesterday my phone rang ~ the head coordinator of the American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery Program called to ask for my help with a newly diagnosed 32 year old woman who had just had a double mastectomy. I had stopped being a R2R volunteer this year as I had so much on my plate already that I didn’t think I could help anyone else. However, as we talked yesterday, I realized that it’s time for me to return to volunteering and to helping others travel this journey.
And as BAngel (the coordinator) and I spoke on the phone, it was like we were old friends even though we’d never met. Both of us are 10 year survivors and as survivors often do, we bonded within moments and began to tell our respective stories to each other, easily asking and answering questions of how the diagnosis was made, what doctors we had (and we shared one!) and joked about some of the funny things that had happened to us along the way. We shared how we found our breast cancers, what surgeries we endured, what types of chemotherapy we had, how much radiation and how we are feeling today since we’ve hit the 10 year marks! We also shared the sad side of being a part of support groups where our friends passed away and how gut-wrenchingly scary it is to hear of the death of a breast cancer survivor sister. Nobody else can understand that sadness except another woman who has lost a friend to the same disease you share. It is something that just stays with you. I shared about my friend Jenn https://misifusa.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/spirits-and-music/ and it was a great relief to me to be understood ~ for BAngel to know and understand how I felt in losing Jenn…because she’d lost a friend as well. I went on to explain that out of our original support group, Jenn was one of 3 women with whom I was close who passed away. After losing Jenn though, I wasn’t able to return to the support group. It was just too sad for me which was how I eventually became a R2R volunteer.
We talked for 2 hours on the phone, oblivious to all else except to getting to know each other, and by the end, it felt like we’d been friends for a long time. In a word, we simply understood each other because we’d walked similar paths. That part of the journey never gets old for me because I always feel like I learn something new with every survivor I speak with and I hope that they do as well.
I think there’s a lot we can teach each other if we would only be open to listening and learning. I recently read a quote from someone which said we have 2 ears, but one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak…wouldn’t it be nice if we used them that way?
I love our blogging community because of the connections we continue to make ~ to me, it’s such a gift to connect with all of you. I want to thank you for all of the lessons you’ve taught me, the inspiration you’ve given me and for the prayers and smiles you’ve blessed me with this year.
Thanks for being you!