February 05, 2016
Fighter. My very special friend who lives next door gave me a Giving Key for my birthday. I credit her with saving my life. As I struggled with my cancer diagnosis and one failed surgery, she gently suggested I consider going "one and done." My doctor disagreed. The "second opinion" doctor disagreed. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, but with my family and friends around me I found the courage to go forward with the extensive surgery and reconstruction. "Good thing" my doctor told me, because my other breast was just waiting to blow.
Breast cancer runs in my family and my beautiful niece is not so fortunate. It has stolen everything from her. As we wrap our arms around her we cry for her, her children, her parents, her brother and her countless friends.
On Sunday as I kissed my niece for probably the last time that she will remember, I gave my Fighter key to her daughter. It's a symbol of the connection to me, my sister and my daughter. We hope that connection can bring her some comfort in the days and years ahead. I hope it brought some peace to my niece, to know that there is an extended family to love her children.
I loved my key. I never imagined I could give it away. I am grateful that I had the honor to carry it. I had "Fighter" tattooed on my back and the key is with someone who needs it now.
It will take time and it won't be easy, but we'll do our best to make sure she feels safe and loved. The women in our family are strong. We're fighters.