These friends are people I have only met through Instagram and Facebook. I've never met them in real life, never spoken to them on the phone, and I don't even live in the same country as any of them, but they are just as important as any of my other friends. I know some people don't understand this, or how news like this can devastate me for days, but we have a connection through this horrible disease that we just can't share with anyone else.
Kim was the first breast cancer warrior I 'met' online, when I searched #mastectomy on Instagram. She seemed so strong and badass (a term I have never used to describe any one, but is perfect for her). Just days after getting out of hospital she had posted a picture of her drains tucked up under her top so she could go to her daughters school play. Through her I discovered a whole online community of breast cancer fighters. From their Instagram pictures I learnt more about my upcoming mastectomy, chemo, and radiation than from any of the information the doctors and nurses gave me. I was also invited to a private cancer group on Facebook which has been the most incredible resource and support for me. I knew that Kim's cancer had returned and in the last few weeks I considered asking mutual friends if they knew how she was, but I think I was too scared to find out. This morning I learnt of her passing and later today found out that she has donated her body to science and will not be having a funeral. I think this is such a beautiful, admirable, and selfless thing to do, to chose, even in death, to put others first and to be more interested in helping others instead of memorialising yourself.
Then there's my beautiful friend Mariana. A few weeks ago I discovered she was in hospital and not well. All day I kept checking back for an update before learning that her cancer had spread to her skin and lymph nodes. A few days later she wrote that her cancer was now in her brain. I was so gutted by this news that for days I could hardly think straight. The last time I tried writing this post was about a week ago and I ended up bursting into tears trying to write about her, so I'll stop here to avoid doing it again.
As for the meeting with my reconstructive surgeon, well it seems insignificant now. Basically, the surgeon told me that the best option for someone my age is a regular implant but, because I have had radiation treatment, I'm not a candidate for this so my other two options which involve cutting skin and muscle from either my stomach or back and making a sort of patch work boob. Not ideal but today I don't particularly care. I'm still annoyed that I didn't have a bilateral mastectomy in the first place. If I had, reconstruction wouldn't be so important. I also get angry when I think about the cost of these so called 'cosmetic' procedures (over $10,000 for one, almost $30,000 for the other. And that's with Medicare and private health insurance) but as Kim once said 'as long as I'm here to bitch about it, I'm ok'
Rest In Peace Kim x