Saturday, May 2, 2015

Digging a little deeper -- on community

I joined the BRCA Sisterhood, a private Facebook group for women who have a BRCA mutation or other hereditary breast or ovarian cancer(s). 

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?


  1. I just found your blog on Bloglovin' & am now following you. Love your witty writing style and courageous spirit. And also you quilt!

  2. You have so much to offer to this group Cassandra. Your incredible spirit witll be so uplifting. To those that are weary and to those who are facing Chemo for the first time, as well as those that just want to talk to someone who knows what they are going through. Your strength is inspirational.

    1. Thank you, Bernie. I'm still wrestling with it. More to come, I'm sure. Happy Mother's Day to you!