I'm back from the Breast Cancer conference in Orlando. Do you see me?
Considering many like me didn't know a single soul before we walked through those doors, the bonding was instant. And insanely beautiful. We were soldiers who fought - and continue to fight - the same war. And you just can't beat that.
We did yoga in the morning. We listened to doctors telling us the strides they are making to getting closer to a cure. We had pizza by the poolside. I attended a wonderful workshop on how to talk to your children about cancer. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. Why is it we all seem to turn to mush when it comes to our kids? I learned about mind-body connections. I learned how to breathe.
A lady stood on a podium and did her own version of a "cancer auction". I hear one year, one year. Do I hear one year?, she called out. And the one-year survivors stood up. Do I hear two? Two years? Many more stood. She went through every year. My knees were wobbly when I stood at twelve years. Sometimes I forget I've come such a long way. As each stood, the hope in the room grew. We were clapping and tearing when the last woman stood. A survivor of twenty six whole years. When we grow up we want to be just like her.
On our second night a lovely company called Pure Romance threw us a pajama party. You see when most women undergo treatment, being beautiful is the last thing we feel. Our self esteem hits rock bottom. Add losing key body parts, your hair and energy to that equation. Pure Romance offers a whole bunch of stuff to help in that department. Go google them if you want to see what I mean. You kids reading this, check with Mommy first. Let's just say these toys will never be found on the shelves of Toys R Us. We were squealing and laughing like kids in a bingo game as they called out numbers to raffle off everything on their catalogue. Our loot bags had all these tubes and gadgets, and yup, batteries included. Pasalubong, anyone?
We told our stories. We listened to other stories. We sang our hearts out in a nearby club. We danced. Yes. I danced for hours. Save for my brief obsession with Lorenzo Llamas and that 1984 Body Rock flick , I do not dance very much. But I danced for those who aren't around to dance anymore. And I danced because I am grateful I can.