Just two months ago when I came back from England after my most recent visit to see my dad, sis and friends I was angry because despite the amazing medical care which I have always received here as a breast cancer patient, I felt that there was a vital aspect missing. The bit where women share common experiences and can come together in order to support one another and of course to have some fun.
And so the Antalya Breast Cancer support group was formed. On Saturday we had our third meeting. Our first had been a tea party in May, our second a fun wig day and this week was a breakfast. Our little group now has over 150 members of a private face book page, of course far less are active participants and so this weekend about 15 of us met. It was lovely.
At each new meeting there are some of the same faces plus a few new additions each time it gives us a chance to sit and get to know eachother as people. There are people at every end of the treatment spectrum. One friend in the group had just had her second chemo and shared her stories of trying to find a suitable bra and what to put in it and made us all giggle.
A few weeks ago when she was at the hospital and about to have her first chemo, she simply wrote on our FB page ‘I’m really scared,’ and do you know what, a fellow member was there by her side in ten minutes. … That to me is the reason for this group’s existence, in that moment someone could reach out and offer support. How far we have come in such a short time, sharing the laughter but also the fear.
When women have such a common bond, something so personal and close it is amazing what happens when we all come together, we can look in eachother’s eyes and understand so much but also of course we can look at one another’s hair or headware and also understand another whole story. We can guess how long ago treatment ended, how many months have passed since the last chemo, or if it’s a wig, scarf or hat we know that person is still having treatment. Then there are people like me who are now on a medication which doesn’t make the hair come out so defy all of the above.
Look at these gorgeous women, one is a few years out of active treatment, two have recently returned to work and are moving on and one woman is at the beginning of her journey, one is also stage 4 and living and getting on with life … what I see when I look at them is that in this moment there is happiness, no fear and strength because no matter what this road isn’t one which any of us need to travel alone anymore. We have friends who we can share it with, we know each other’s stories and experiences as if they were our own…
And now we are planning a hen party for one of the girls who is getting married, projects for pink October and more … Women with breast cancer come from every walk of life, it doesn’t discriminate according to social, economic or academic status and now increasingly it also doesn’t respect age. The youngest woman in our group is still in her twenties …
Together we have wings and we are flying