When I think back on my cancer journey, which began October 2010, there is no way to list or properly recognize all the people whose kindnesses have meant so much, whose “love got me through.” For this Valentine’s Day, I want to send some special love to a group of ladies I probably wouldn’t even know without my thyroid cancer diagnosis my “Scar Sisters”!
As people learned about my initial diagnosis, they kept telling me how weird it was that the mother of my daughter’s classmate had been diagnosed weeks earlier, with surgery scheduled only two weeks before mine. All of a sudden, the cute little mom I had only seen in passing was my lifeline. Karen shared what the days after surgery would be like and helped me process my feelings about bringing cancer into my family’s life.
The next summer, we were introduced to Florence, who was facing her own surgery and treatment. It helped me put my own experience into better context when I was able to use it to inform and guide someone who was still in the “deer in the headlights” phase. Soon after, we connected with Susan, another mom at our school who had the most complicated surgery of any of us.
Each of the “Scar Sisters” has in some way gone before the others into unknown territory, whether it be surgery, treatment, side effects, annual scans, recurrence, metastasis, or additional surgery to reverse the negative impacts of treatment. We’ve shared laughs and tears, triumphs and terrors, but most of all the knowledge that we are all there for one another, no matter how big or small the concern. I’ve told them about aspects of my own cancer journey before I told my husband! There is just something so comforting about meeting people who have been exactly where you’re going mostly literally represented by our matching scars.
None of us would have chosen cancer as the common thread to run through our lives and friendships, but I couldn’t be more grateful for my “Scar Sisters.” Karen Johnston, Florence Chassaignac, and Susan Glasser are my very special Valentines, every day, and I couldn’t love them more!