A couple of months ago I finally started attending a breast cancer support group here in Moorhead. It was started by two survivors, a few years ago, and this group does a lot of support, outreach, fundraising, etc., for survivors, and newly diagnosed. They meet once a month in the basement of the Moorhead Library.
Steph, one of the 5th grade teachers at my sons elementary school, introduced me to the "Breast Friends" group and she has continued to be an invaluable form of support to me from early on.
So I was giddy when she sent a "Hope Tote," home from school with Colton, a couple of weeks ago. There is just a small sample of the goodies down below.
I owe this group of women a lot of gratitude. They have given of their time and talents, tirelessly, to benefits in my honor, as well as to many others struggling to both survive and pay for treatment. These warrior women tackle the tough and the hard, with a great deal of humor and grace. I am hopeful to grow in knowing them all more, and truly becoming more like them.
Thank you Steph- for your friendship and support and the gift of sista-hood with so many beautiful survivors!
The group was saddened recently by their first loss of a treasured sister. Those of you local, have probably heard of the amazing story of Diane Marthaler, more affectionately known as "Toot." She recently entered her heavenly home, but has left behind a rich legacy of faith, and the ability of an indomitable spirit to touch a massive amount of people. If you ever want to read an epic story of faith, love, laughter and living with stage iv breast cancer- than Toot's caring bridge site won't let you down.
I even have my own little "Toot" story. I've never met Toot, but in reading her journey, through the eyes of her husband, I certainly have a good idea of who she was... she has left some big shoes to fill- pink sneakers to be exact.
It was a grey and gloomy day- another in a string of days that swirled together. I was feeling the "Toot" sized hole so many had described in grieving her loss. But there is a triumphant quality to Toot's story. In fact, she was adamant about having a "celebration" of life after her funeral.
I was driving home from treatment, and was waiting on a call back from doctor, having just discovered my new lump. I was thinking about how I hate the term "lose" when it comes to cancer. Great warriors such as Toot, in my opinion, don't really lose their battles- because if they do- cancer wins. My thoughts wandered as I pulled to a stop. And then two things happened simultaneously: The clouds parted revealing the sun, and my mind flashed "God wins..." If Toot's life taught me anything, its that God wins, not cancer. For a brilliant moment or two, the sun streaked through the clouds, illuminating the ground up in front of the car. I had to laugh- "nice to meet you Toot. Is my friend Gitz standing right next to you?" In mere seconds, the sun vanished. But the internal lightness I felt, couldn't be touched. The Martha Beck quote above couldn't have summed it up any better.
In other news... Rick seems to have the flu. In 15 years of marriage I have not known him to ever stay in bed. For two days now he has lingered in bed, with chills, fever, cough, and cold symptoms. And yes- I am staying as far away as possible.
I heard today from Roger Maris yesterday, and my PET scan is scheduled for 12:45 on Monday the 18th.
Beautiful notes, cards, comments and emails continue to buoy and support me. You are all heard, felt, seen... and I'm deeply grateful and honored.
Love to you all ~