Sisterhood—In Sickness and in Healthby Lee McKenzie
A year and a half ago I received some scary news. I had developed malignant melanoma in at least one lymph node in my neck—a recurrence following a primary lesion that had been removed in 2001. A close friend—a true sister in every sense of the word—was with me when I received that diagnosis. Throughout the surgery, recovery and a year of chemotherapy, I’ve been surrounded by a large and supportive group of women.
Ever since that dreadful day in the doctor’s office, my family, friends and colleagues—my own personal sisterhood—rallied around, and their unending love and support kept me going when the going was rough.
Christmas—my favorite holiday—fell between the diagnosis and surgery, and my daughter helped made sure the festivities came together beautifully. She was there when I went into surgery and five hours later was there when I came out. She sat with me in the hospital, washed and combed my hair, patiently learned to clean and care for the incisions, and loaded my favorite music on her iPod. At home, she was always there when I needed her, in spite of a full course load at university and a part-time job.
My extended family of “sisters”—my mother, mother-in-law, aunts, and sister-in-law—live in different cities, so their love and support came as phone calls, cards, bouquets, emails and the occasional visit. I’ve been continually buoyed up by their strength and positive energy.
My friends showered me with attention. Meals, flowers, gifts and books were delivered to the door, and my inbox and voice mail were filled with good wishes. They took me to medical appointments, to the physiotherapist and, at my whim, to the local children’s petting zoo and for walks in public gardens. As I began to regain energy, there were coffee dates and lunch dates.
My Noodler sisters, this amazing group of women that I have been so fortunate to connect with, have continually offered support and
My family doctor, the nurses at the hospital, physiotherapist, massage therapist and therapeutic touch practitioner—all women—have offered more comfort and shown more compassion than I ever would have dreamed possible.
My editors have patiently waited for me to recover, and I’m now triumphantly working on my next submission. It’s wonderful to feel well enough to write again.
This is not to say I haven’t received support from the men in my life. My husband was also at my side before and after surgery, sat with me in the chemo room, and, when I was too sick to get out of bed, ran the household while working full-time. My son, who was away at college, called often and visited when he could. My father, who has the biggest heart of any man on the planet, never let go of his belief that I would beat this.
But today is about sisterhood, and I am so lucky to be part of one with such a vigorous embrace. I am now healthy and well, and regaining a little strength and energy every day. I’d like to think I could have done this on my own, but I’m beyond grateful that I didn’t have to. So, my sisters, I’m now hugging back, and this hug’s for you.
With much love,