Friends I never knew I had
20 Oct 2013
When I was first diagnosed I was told not to google too much! I appreciate this can be a bad move having initially been given vague information about such a huge condition. I was however guided towards websites such as Macmillan Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Cancer Research. I have to say these sites are fabulous. They are factual and informative as well as caring and supportive.
Many of these sites have forums with hundreds of different threads on that I was able to visit both to read and join in discussions. To me this was really helpful. I learnt a lot from the sites and was comforted to hear other people’s stories. One of the best things I did was to join a thread that was for women who were starting chemo in September like myself.
I was starting my chemo towards the end of September so many of the ladies on the thread were already up and running with their treatment so it was helpful to see more about what I was about to face. A great number of the ladies in this thread had “defected” to a secret group on Facebook (a favourite haunt of mine I must say). So I plucked up the courage to ask to join the group and after a while I was accepted, I was in!!!!
I can’t tell you how glad I am that I joined this group. We are a group of 38 women, our youngest is 28 and I believe our oldest is 66, we live all over the UK and we even have an international lady amongst us much to our excitement (we are all secretly planning on popping over next year for a holiday but we haven’t told her yet)! We have a huge variety of jobs between us and various marital and family statuses so it’s safe to say we are a pretty diverse bunch. But we all have one thing in common and that is that we are all going through this disease and treatment together.
We are all at various stages in this journey, some have had surgery prior to starting chemo in September and some of us still have that to come. We have various types and grades of cancer between us and also various different chemotherapy and drug regimes. Some are facing this disease for the second time, one for the fourth and some have metastases which have spread to lungs etc. What an amazing bunch they are, I think each one of them is fantastic!
I realise I have tried to be quite open and honest in my blog but I must say that some of the things we share on our secret Facebook page would make your eyes water! I have obviously never met any of these women in person so it was a little odd reading and responding to some of these posts at first but I am now into the swing of things. For myself, like many of the ladies I suspect this openness and honesty has been fabulous.
We share good days and bad days, we laugh at and with each other, we try our best to cheer people up if they are feeling down and give virtual hugs, love, and slaps if need be. I have enjoyed seeing their families and also the fruits of their labour as many are into various crafts. We share personal news which helps us get to know each other and keeps a sense of normality to the page at times.
Advice from others is plentiful and no question is too silly or odd. We have had poo-gate scandals, shared shocking wind/chemo fart stories, shared pictures of our new wigs as well as pictures of our cropped heads and eventually our bald heads.
The crop/bald shots I know have given many of us the courage to do the deed ourselves when the time came, myself included. When I was struggling to make the first cut on my head I popped a quick message on the page asking for someone to give me a slap and tell me to get on with things! A number of the ladies happily obliged, reminding me how much better I’d feel as they had and away I went to carry out the deed. The comments from the group when I posted my final bald look gave me the confidence to include them on this blog which is now out there for the world to see. So I have a lot to thank these ladies for!
I know I have fabulous family and friends around me and I am eternally grateful for this but other than Minnie and a school friend Emma I don’t know anyone else who has been though this so to have this bunch of ladies beside me has been such a help. I have laughed so much at our antics at times and had tears in my eyes when people are down. I know we will all get there in the end, through the tears and smiles and ladies if you are reading this, which I know a few of you may do, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support, you are all superheros!!
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