I know, I just said the other day that I wasn't looking to connect with other survivors.
But the conversation I had with my colleague has stayed with me. Why have I resisted connecting with other women going through similar experiences?
I was afraid to admit this, but I think in part I fear being surrounded by cancer. I don't want cancer to define me, and yes--I am afraid of cancer. I want to run as far away from it, as fast as I can.
A few weekends ago I attended my first DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting of the year. I joined the Guild almost two years ago but hadn't mentally committed to participate until recently. Earlier this year I started engaging with other members on Instagram. They embraced me, even though only a few could probably remember ever meeting me! And when I started documenting my cancer journey, they supported me. The Guild President sent me coffee and fabric for a head scarf. The Vice President reached out by email to check on me. And members cheered me on as I moved from surgery to chemo to recovery.
Attending the meeting in April felt like a homecoming. I nearly burst into tears, walking into the room, hugging friends I hadn't met in person before. Community is amazing.
That's the thing I do need: community. And I am grateful to have found it in different places--work, home, with friends, online, at DCMQG. Within these communities are, of course, other survivors. But the nature of our community is different. Our relationships aren't defined by cancer. That feels significant.
I don't know what my participation will be like in the BRCA Sisterhood... but I am going to give it a try. Already it is clear that the group provides tremendous support to each other, to women at all stages of the journey. They are there if I need them and heck, I may have something to offer as well.
I haven't figured it all out, but I'm getting there. It's a process, right?