I’ve been busy planning a memorial 50th birthday party/fundraiser for my friend Pattie Noel, whom I posted about last week. Early this year, Pattie told us she wanted to have a big 50th birthday party in August with proceeds going to Pink Ribbon Girls. So in her memory, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
I went to lunch today with another breast cancer sister, who also lost a very good friend to this stupid disease. She told me it’s healing to honor your friend’s legacy, and I think she’s right. I’ve been busy talking to caterers, bakers, and working with other Pink Ribbon Girls to help get details in place. It gives me a sense of purpose and that I’m doing something Pattie would want me to do. Pattie’s daughter-in-law is helping with a silent auction and promoting it to their family and friends. I think she’s finding comfort in this, too.
It’s a double-edged sword actively participating in the cancer community. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. I don’t know how I’d survive without the support and friendship of my cancer survivor friends. But no one gives you an instruction book on how to deal when these close friends pass away. There’s an incredible bond that goes along with sharing the experience of having a life threatening illness. I think this is amplified when you share a stage IV diagnosis.
I’ve said before that it must be how soldiers feel on the battlefield. You never know who’s going to make it. You’re all scared and you do your best to help each other survive. And, yes, there are casualties. Soldiers often come back with post-traumatic stress syndrome. And I wonder if the same doesn’t happen to fellow cancer survivors. You are facing incredible grief and loss. At the same time, it brings to light your mortality and fears.
An ironic thing is that I’ve had about a half dozen people with stage IV cancer reach out to me for help these past two weeks. I was telling Mike I wished they picked a week when I felt stronger and more hopeful. Then I realized this is exactly what God wants me to do … and what Pattie wants me to do, too. I don’t have to say, “rah, rah; you’ll get through this.” I’m being my true self, telling them of my struggles and how I’m getting through them. I’m not a poster girl for Stage IV cancer. I’m just one of many people in this situation, simply trying to live one day at a time, making the most of each day, while trying to stay alive and, hopefully thrive.
In case any of you live in the Cincinnati area and would like to attend Pattie’s party, it will be held Friday, August 30, 6 p.m., at Kuliga Park, 6717 Bridgetown Road. Cost is $20 per person and there’ll be music, some of Pattie’s favorite foods, and sharing of good memories.You must RSVP for the event by Aug. 22.
More information and a link to RSVP will be up on Pink Ribbon Girls website in the next couple of days. Go to www.pinkribbongirls.org.