I finished working about 2am yesterday morning. I was working on a substantial document and once it was distributed, my vacation could begin without care. Before bed, I did a Facebook check to see if any of my European friends had posted since my last check.
It was then that I noticed a work colleague, also from Southern California on-line. I hadn’t seen her on at all during the evening, so I sent out a chat message asking why she was up so late. There was no reply, so I went to bed to catch two hours sleep before the alarm was set to go off.
After the blasted alarm yanked me from my rest, I eventually checked my phone and found that this colleague sent me the following message:“I don’t think u want me to answer! I can’t sleep. Earlier today I as diagnosed with breast cancer”
Shock and a bone chilling feeling moved through my bones while the words “not another” rang in my mind. This young girl of 28 or 30 is now having to deal with breast cancer. That’s just unfair, their generation shouldn’t have to deal with cancer.
Over the next 10 or so minutes, the whole process went through my mind as experienced by friends and loved ones. From diagnosis, to surgery to chemo, to remission all flashed in a moment. A montage of faces came out of the shadows of my mind. Faces not of victims, but of survivors. Men and women who have beaten the disease into remission.
I left this future breast cancer survivor a voice message of support at work. I told her that she was going to kick cancer’s ass.
At the airport I noticed that my teenager was wearing Breast Cancer bracelet . I sent a Facebook message to my colleague asking about her treatment protocol. There are walls with people of at work. Mostly out of necessity. Open, honest, genuine intimate relations in a company with 10,000 people hinders productivity. Questions that modesty and decorum might prevent one from asking about a nondescript “procedure” are tossed by the wayside when cancer is involved. Modesty falls, nay, crashes down by the wayside cancer is involved.
So it’s 6am two days later and I am sitting in a hotel room typing away. My wife and daughter are sleeping in the beds behind me. There is a history of breast cancer on their side of the family. We will not fear, but we will be vigilant.