Leontine found me through an article in the local newspaper – a nice fluff piece about the importance of early detection*. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when i was, and she found resonance with my words.
It was about risk management, “getting on with it”, and about not letting yourself be a victim. During our surgeries and treatments, we’d meet up monthly to slog through an assload of wine and brie and compare notes. Mostly, counting our blessings for getting off lucky in the grand scheme of things.
On the surface? Not much to build upon. She is in her mid-60’s, the wife of a local dentist, and mother of three grown children – happily spawning a flock of gorgeous grand children. We found we had a lot more in common than just cancer nuggets buried in our titties. We drink. And we dish. And we play. And we travel like there’s no tomorrow…
Although our prognosis was similar, she opted for more aggressive treatment, including chemo “just to be damn sure”. Leontine and i looked forward to our monthly sessions – swapping stories about living aggressively, and dishing gossip on the locals**, as well as discussing the merits of a merkin for a chemo patient! To celebrate her one year anniversary? She showed up with a tattoo on her left tit – a pink ribbon with the words “I won”.
Last year, we added a new member to our posse. Doris, a good friend of hers, was diagnosed with her own pesky little cancer nugget. And so we meet. And we drink. And we dish. Doris – a lovely 68-year old grandma – is now sporting a smokin’ hot blond wig since she’s bald as a cueball from her chemo. It is a replacement wig, since she burned the crap out of her original wig by leaning a little too close to the stove.
Last Thursday, the three of us met for another session. It wasn’t easy to arrange, as we beat through our busy schedules to pick the date. Doris was looking fabulous – meticulously dressed, matching outfit – right down to the coordinated earrings in her triple-pierced ears. She’s been dealing with weekly chemo for six months, and is looking forward to being done at the end of June.
i was surprised to learn that Thursdays are her worst days. She receives chemo on Mondays, and says she feels ok through Tuesday, but by Thursday, she’s hitting rock bottom, recovering a bit to be able to enjoy her weekends. Didn’t slow her down much from what i could see***. Her words: “What’s the point of staying in bed and whining? Life is out there! Live it!”
i love these women. Not to mention the fact that i’ve got friends named Leontine and Doris. How cool is that?
* It also provided an opportunity to get some shameless publicity for the show i was in at the time of my surgery. Pimpin’ my cancer to get butts in seats. No apologies…
** Dentist’s wives know shit about everyone. Big fun… especially the dirt on the local politicos…
*** We killed two bottles of wine and two plates of brie in about 90 minutes… We are nothing if not efficient!