She Wishes She Was a Dancer, And That She’d Never Heard of Cancer

I was planning on revising an erotic story for posting today. Wouldn’t you know one word would change my whole day and perspective. My erotic post is abandoned. In its place is a little story about a colleague of mine.

She walked into my office and shut the door. We often have private conversations in my office, so I wasn’t surprised that she closed my door. See, she and I have both been on the same path in the last two years. We’ve been sharing our stories of weight loss. About our reinvention of self. We’ve shared highs and lows. Happiness and anger. Laughed about the attention bestowed on us by men and women. Today though, she stood in front of me and said, “I have breast cancer.” I froze. I I then went to her, and hugged her. Told her I was sorry. She’s a strong one though. She said, “I’m not going to let this define me, Renee.” I smiled and told her, “You shouldn’t. Cancer is not the sum of who you are.”

She shared that her oncologist told her she is Stage 2A. She needs a lumpectomy and radiation. She will most likely not have to have chemo, but will be on Tamoxifen for the next five years. I had her tell me the rest of the story. How she found it herself and made sure that after a week of self breast exams, she called her doctor and they got her right in for a mammogram. The radiologist called the doctor in during the mammogram. They found a shadow under a cyst. A biopsy was done almost immediately and the next day she was informed she had a malignancy.

I watched her as she told me the story. She had such grace. She was so calm. She told me that as she’s been informing people that she’s had to comfort them. She was not upset by this. The whole time she spoke to me, she had this aura about her. This incredible lightness. She said, “Renee, the oncologist informed me that women that go through a significant weight loss are at a greater risk of breast cancer.” I looked at her stupefied and said, “How can this be? We’ve regained our health. How???” She said, “It’s something about our bodies, though they are stronger, healthier. They can become weak too.”

I’m telling you I wanted to leave work and go pick up a cheesecake. Just wanted to say, fuck it! Instead, I went home and changed into my gym clothes. Roger Darling and I headed to the gym. We worked out and then came home to eat a healthy dinner. I’m really thankful Roger Darling likes to feel me up a lot. I have yearly mammograms. And I make sure that I do a monthly self-exam. I’m thankful that my last test was normal. I’m thankful that though my colleague has been diagnosed with cancer, she went to the doctor and it was detected early. I will be her support. I will be strong because she is. And if she walks into my office, closes the door and falls apart. I will hold her till she comes back to herself again.