The Power of Love Gives Me Strength
I am a firefighter. Though we can face dangerous situations, we never go into them alone – we are part of a strong team. The most frightening situation I’ve faced in my life was not on the job, however. Twice I’ve been confronted with a diagnosis of breast cancer, once at age 33 prior to becoming a firefighter and again at age 41, three years after being hired. In both cases, my battle was not fought alone. The love and incredible support I received from everyone around me inspired me to stay strong and confront the threat head on. These examples of love are just a few of what gave me strength as I conquered my cancers. Family, friends, and coworkers who have helped me raise over $25,000 to support research and programs to fight the disease. Loved ones who traveled far just to be with me during my surgeries and treatments: whether it was friends sipping wine with me until midnight in a hot tub before my mastectomy, family sitting around doing crosswords when I didn’t feel well, or brothers cajoling me into attending a Seahawks football game and subsequently getting me addicted. A friend who hosted and singlehandedly organized an amazing silent auction and BBQ which raised thousands of dollars to support my Race for the Cure team – Camari’s Mammaries……and the friend who at that event did the belly flop of the century after getting everyone to throw in more money. Firefighter coworkers who worked ALL of my shifts (unpaid) for 6 months so I could focus on getting through treatments and recovery. A neighbor who decorated the entire cul de sac with pink ribbons to welcome me home from surgery. A friend who made a variety of “knitted titties” for me to use in place of a lackluster prosthesis. A brother who traveled to New York City with me to be a caregiver after a very special reconstructive surgery. The many who came to race the “Uniboober” at a special go-karting fundraiser. The friend who learned how to make a boob piñata for my boob themed party prior to my mastectomy. A sister-in-law who sent me granny panties with “Put On Your Big Girl Panties and Deal With It” when I blogged about needing granny panties to go with the wretched looking mastectomy bras I had seen online. Friends who came to chemo treatments with me and made these events in to parties, including a Mexican Fiesta day, rather than solemn affairs. My fire department that hosted a fantastic head shaving party at my station…..and the nearly 50 members that attended and lost their locks in a show of solidarity. Being a Model of Courage for the Ford Warriors in Pink program and the amazing work they do in the battle against breast cancer.