Lately, I've found myself wondering exactly what it is that has kept pulling me back to MyBCTeam almost daily for the past six months. I know that when I was first diagnosed and found this site, I went there strictly to learn. Doctors don't have the time to educate us, and their answers are often brief and to the point. It’s probably designed that way so as not to frighten us. Not being familiar with medical lingo, I didn't know the meaning of most of the words on my diagnosis reports. Sure, I checked the meaning of each word online and the more I read, the more confused I became. But I did learn - on MyBCTeam. I learned how different chemical and radiation treatments affected different women. I learned how they had managed to cope with the discomfort, and I learned a lot about how their families and friends reacted to their illness.
After a month or so of reading their posts almost daily, I thought, Okay, this is all I need to know right now. Then, after a few days of not going to the site, I found myself thinking, I wonder how that lady in New Jersey is doing after her difficult surgery? And the young woman in New York with two small children, I wonder if she's feeling better by now? So, back I went. One might not understand how we can care about someone we don't even know and will likely never meet, but a connection had already been made. I did care about those women and I saw that they also cared about me by asking if I was okay and wishing me good luck with my surgery.
I've also questioned the fact that some members post almost daily, or several times a day. Maybe they're bored or don't have anything else to do, like some folks are addicted to Facebook, I thought. But that's not why I keep coming back.
As nice as I thought all of the postings were, I couldn't get the "Why do they do it?" question out of my mind. There must be some underlying reason. Some rationale to why perfect strangers can become so close and caring. After days of this "why" nagging at me, I think I might have come close to the answer. At least it's an answer that satisfies me. It's comfort and a safe place for women to be. From the moment we are conceived, we feel our mother's heartbeat and her warmth and protection. After we're born, we feel her closeness and her protectiveness. Most of us are fortunate enough to continue that closeness for many years.
But what happens when we grow up? We become wives, mothers, nurses, cooks, house cleaners, workers ... always taking care of someone else. That's just what grown women do. And all is well with that until something happens to put us back to the way we were soon after we were born: vulnerable, needy, dependent, and often scared. And as loving as family and friends can be, they simply cannot understand completely how we feel. Only another woman who is going through the same thing can understand. Many of us reach our lowest, most vulnerable stage in our lives when we first hear that we have cancer. Only another woman can offer us the comfort, security and warmth that we need, very much like a mother's love.
This article was written by MyBCTeam member Penney as part of the Member Spotlight Series. Penney is a retired dance instructor, property manager, and novel editor who loves to stay active and spread positivity on MyBCTeam.
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