A girl tribe

One thing you don’t want to do — especially if you have breast cancer — is read someone else’s real-life experience with breast cancer. Right now the thought of surgery is just that: a thought. Something distant and not quite real. I think I need it to stay that way for now. Vague. Foggy. A picture of gray.

Last night I was googling around and I came across other posts on other blogs that outlined in black and white the details of pre- and post- surgery. Please don’t let me do that again.

Please.

It’s just too frightening to think about right now.

I’m slowly starting to tell more people. I don’t have any desire to keep my diagnosis a secret or to try to control who knows or who doesn’t know, but the telling is hard. Here’s the thing: I’m going to need a village. I know that. I’m 3,000 miles from my family, from my mom and my brother and my sister and my aunts and my cousins and the people who are my blood, the people I might call in the middle of the night and say “come now.” My husband’s family is here, close by, and they are wonderful, but my mother-in-law is 92. My husband and my brother-in-law are good men, but they are men. And that’s okay, I know I will lean on both of them a great deal, but I need a girl-tribe. A village of women. So I want to pull my friends close.

I’m not one to pray. I have a strange and troubled history with organized religion. But I believe in spreading grace. Be kind, be good, be brave. It’s not always easy, but it is always right. There is so little in this life that we can control. So much is random, chance, fate, coincidence, timing — mostly random — I have a good life, and I am grateful for all of it.

But today, I’m most grateful for my girl tribe, my friends who will wrap their arms around me like a well-worn cashmere sweater. And never let me google “breast cancer” again.

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