Dear Nicole,

I know it’s been an exhausting time.  After two weeks of doctors appointments, biopsies, mammograms and several assurances that it couldn’t be cancer, your doctor is going to call, on a Friday night, and tell you that it is.  Cancer.  You are going to calmly hang up the phone, start to hyperventilate, leave the children with your friend and get in the car and drive to your inlaws.  In retrospect, driving was probably not the best plan, but it happened so we’ll leave it at that.  And the inlaws were comforting, so since you didn’t get in an accident on the way there, it was probably a good place to go.

I know what you are thinking.  The possibility of death is stifling and it’s so hard to imagine a time when you won’t be cancer mama.

But here’s the thing; life will go on.  It will bring you the people you need, when you need them.  There will be people to help you with treatment.  People to help you with the family.  People to help you with your spirit.  And they will come from everywhere.  Close to home and across the internet.

You will feel like crap.  And then you won’t.

The hair will go.  And come back.

Reconstruction will be a pain in the butt.  Ask me in 2012 if it was all worth it.

You will have friends who move on with their life.  You will have friends recur.  And you will have friends who die.  And this is hard.  But it’s not your fault.  Some people will respond to treatment and some won’t, but there’s no rule that says just because you’re fine someone else has to not be.  There’s no bell curve for cancer.  So no wallowing in survivor’s guilt.  It doesn’t help them or you.

So…

Knit some hats.

Share your gifts with others.

Sing.

And heal yourself.

Love,

Nicole

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