"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.” Winnie the Pooh
Elizabeth Edwards was a high profile woman who touched all of our hearts with her brave battle against breast cancer. As a member of the Sisterhood, we were able to personally relate to her trials and all that she was enduring. When her cancer progressed to her bones, we embraced her as we do all of our fellow sisters. Last night's news was a shock when we heard that she decided to stop treatment. It sounded, based on the news reports, that she still had time left. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case because today she died.The Facebook and Support Forum postings are full of sadness, anger at this terrible disease and, also, fear.
I want to take a moment to talk to all of you who are newly diagnosed, just out of treatment, or even an old timer who had a "similar" diagnosis as Elizabeth Edwards did. I have received several messages in the last two hours and sometimes we need a gentle reminder of the snowflake.
Many years ago, when mentoring a group of women who had all started chemo together, if they heard of another woman who was not doing well they instantly put themselves in her place. I did the same thing back when I was just out of treatment. If a friend of a friend's mother-in-law died, I would be convinced that her fate would be my own. It took time and careful study to recognize that I had to stop doing that because no two people are alike. Your pathology report may have the same wording as a fellow sister's, but the pathology inside your body is yours and yours alone. Your DNA is as individual as a snowflake that flutters down from the sky and lands gently on your daughter's ponytail.
It is human to identify with Elizabeth and others who have gone on before us, but it is inaccurate to put yourself in their position because you also had the same breast cancer diagnosis or are on the same medication for treatment. Your immune system responds in its own unique way. Please don't worry that this means that you, too, will have something terrible happen. You must move forward, look forward and live each day fully. Do whatever you have to in order to stay healthy, but live your life.
May God bless the memory of Elizabeth Edwards and all the wonderful, warrior angels who went before us. And may He also bless all of those in the fight who will continue to live our lives to honor their memories.