This week I have been looking at the qualities of a good friend with my HSC (matriculation) Italian students. It got me thinking about the relationships with my friends and how they have changed since I moved out of Sydney. This story has already got me crying, so have tissues at the ready people.
Some of my friends I have known for a lifetime, yet I am continuously amazed by the strength that they possess.
One of my girlfriends comes from a family with a history of breast cancer. I’m not suggesting that this lessens the impact of the words when they come out of the doctors mouth, but she has known for years that her mother and she are prone to developing breast cancer. The kicker came 3 years ago when her mother informed her that she had developed a different type of cancer – OVARIAN.
I remember when she told me, we were by the lake in Centennial Park. I thought the conversation was coming to an end when she said…I have something to tell you. But you can’t tell anyone. Of course I agreed. She said no, really.. actually don’t worry. Eventually through my powers of coercion, she managed to confide in me this secret that had been eating her apart. She didn’t know how to deal with it, she wasn’t supposed to talk about it. What do you do when your mum, who has just turned 50, might die? When she is so weak and the roles of mother and child are reversed. YOU take responsibility for your younger brother and cooking dinner and making sure your dad is coping. You lose yourself in your family because every breath has become about your mother. At this point you start isolating yourself from your friends and not being able to talk to them because they can never fully understand the experience and how it is making you feel.
According to my insightful year 12s, your friends stick by your side through good times and bad. They give you the strength to face every day fresh and positive.
My darling friend, You are strong, and you will be strong for your mother, and she will see the therapy through, and will continue with treatments and her life. She still travels, though not as much as she used to and she still works and she is still here on earth, your mother.
My girlfriend’s story is just one puzzle piece in the many stories of families of cancer patients. Her strength has inspired me to share this story with you. The month of February has been claimed as Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.
We women know how important it is to do breast self-examinations, to get pap smears every 2 years. But what do you know about OVARIAN CANCER?
Every woman needs to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Make sure you do.
The four most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
– Abdominal or pelvic pain
– Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
– Needing to urinate often or urgently
– Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
Please visit this website: http://www.ovariancancer.net.au/
They provide information to raise awareness, current and past research, treatment information and how to make donations etc. There is also information about the fundraising going on in February (afternoon Teals, Teal ribbons) including events in all states of AUS – for future research to help women who are diagnosed with this terrible cancer.