How I Met My Breastie
Today may be National Best Friends day, but we’re taking a moment to celebrate all the breastie’s out there who share a friendship bond like no other: breast cancer.
Here’s the story of two lovely ladies from the Rethink Young Women’s Network (RYWN) who became close friends after mutually bonding over breast cancer.
What was the moment you know you’d be good friends?
Dory: I didn’t know then BUT when we first met we were at a support group with three other women around our age. They were chatting about how they were feeling during treatment and most of the comments were negative, like “I didn’t leave my house at all during chemo, I don’t have sex anymore, I couldn’t eat a thing, I don’t drink, etc”. I was terrified since I would be starting chemo in a couple weeks. Emily turns to me and softly reassured me that, that was not the case with her that she goes for walks every day and still enjoys all the same foods and a beer from time to time. I was so thankful for her words and I was happy I was also able to reassure her about her upcoming mastectomy since I had the same surgery one-month prior. When I bumped into Emily a couple months later at a cancer retreat I clung to her instantly knowing that we should/would be good friends!
Emily: Dory visited me at my apartment for the first time a few days after my exchange surgery (where they replace the tissue expanders with the permanent implant) and within minutes we had our shirts off comparing our new breasts (Dory also has implants).
What’s the weirdest part of making friends as an adult?
Dory: It’s the initial moments after meeting when it almost feels like you are asking someone on a date. When I met Emily at the support group I knew I wanted to hang out with her again but was too shy and felt too awkward to ask for her number or to add her on Facebook. I thought to myself: “Does she want to be my friend too?” “I got a good vibe from her, but maybe she was just being nice”. Even after the retreat Emily and I made plans to grab a drink and I remember being so nervous as if it were a first date!
Emily: The start of a new friendship is very similar to the start of a romantic relationship where you are excited when the other person messages you and you are worried about coming on too strong. I am so happy that our friendship was mutual. Even though I’ve only known Dory for a couple of years, I know she will be in my life forever.
How has having breast cancer bonded you?
Dory: Breast cancer created a common ground for us, right away we had something to talk about. We both had a great support network but still felt like something was missing and we needed each other to be able to open up with about our true thoughts and feelings about what was happening to us. We knew we did not have to sugar coat anything with each other. We were completely honest with one another and shared things that most people wouldn’t feel comfortable with.
Emily: Breast cancer brought Dory and I together but if we met in another life we’d still be friends. Dory’s friendship has made life with and after cancer so much better! We have been through the worst years of our lives alongside each other, completely understanding one another without having to explain anything. It is very comforting to have someone who just gets you.
What’s your favourite thing about each other?
Dory: How honest we can be with one another with zero judgment. We also both have similar outlooks on our cancers and love getting involved in the community. It’s so nice having a buddy to do these things with and just knowing that I am not alone on this crazy ride.
Emily: My favourite thing about our friendship is that we can find humour in the worst of times. I’m sure most people would be shocked if they heard how we speak to each other but only another breastie can say certain things. We are usually thinking the same thing too. I love how comfortable we are without even having to speak.
Finish this sentence: My breastie is…
Dory: such a thoughtful and caring person and I am so happy she is now a bestie, not just breastie!
Emily: a lifesaver. I have a great support system and four fantastic sisters, but no one knows how I feel or what I’ve been through like Dory. She is the person I confide in when I’m emotional for no reason or I’m frustrated with the many side effects of cancer and we usually end up laughing through it.