A Life Raft Amongst the Sharks
Last updated: October 2023
During this October I am not just awash in pink. I also am pressured by fellow MBC members, during support groups designed for healing, to feel a certain way and thus respond accordingly to all of the pink. The anger, insistence, frustration, and what can only be described as Mean Girl behavior that I am met with is suffocating. Ironically, on Wednesdays, mean girls wear pink.
Hope in what brings people together
Instead, I find hope in what brings people together. The camaraderie, opportunity to socialize with women like me, and the chance to share out loud that I am still here makes me feel alive. I seize moments to get more involved in walks, runs, and other events centered around female empowerment that make me feel like I have the strength to make a difference.
I once read that a course on happiness was the most sought-after elective that Harvard University offers. In an effort to understand what makes happiness so intangible, I continued my reading. Happiness is being part of something bigger than you as an individual where you feel like you are making a difference. That comes in all forms for different individuals. I do not need to be told where or how to spend my limited income during October any more than I do the rest of the year. I also do not need to be told where to send donations (Different if I ask and am eliciting feedback). As a 52-year-old who has lived with a de novo diagnosis of MBC for three years, I am fully equipped to make those choices.
Hope in being a part of something bigger than I am
Hope, for me, comes in form of being part of something bigger than I am where I feel like I am making a difference. Although I often forget, I do that every day when I volunteer for my local wellness center, when I donate my time to children who need homework help, and when I attend support groups that actually feel like support, not judgment because I have a pink shirt on or I am involved with the American Cancer Society.
Hope in empowering myself with knowledge
We tend to draw hard lines on topics like October, when sometimes hope lives in the softer spaces between the hard lines. I find hope in Live Strong, Making Strides, the Freihofer Run, retreats with my MBC sisters, and empowering myself with knowledge by attending classes, panel discussions, and other speaking engagements. I also find hope in my local Hope Club where you may find a room teaching quilting, a kitchen serving lunch, a yoga session, a sign up for Reach to Recovery, and much more.
Hope in focusing on what I can do
Hope can be found in the nooks and crannies we tend to look past or fail to notice which does not often come when you are angry, frustrated, or want to teach the world a lesson. I, for one, am full from all of the strong opinions, and yes, that is what they are, that are being crammed down my throat. I am going to focus on what I can do, this month and beyond, and that brings me hope!
Have you been successful in getting financial assistance to help with your medical costs?