I am watching a show on the Women’s Network called About Her. Click the link to watch a trailer, but basically it is a documentary about nine women who were diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Here is what they say about the show on their website…

About Her follows the intimate and insightful stories of nine young women diagnosed with the aggressive HER2 + form of breast cancer. Filled with humour and candour, each woman’s unique perspective, from the sensitive to the irreverent, is woven together to reveal their shared experiences of discovery, treatment and recovery. From being assured that their lumps were nothing to worry about at such a young age to suddenly confronting their mortality; and from coping with raising young children while undergoing chemotherapy to discovering depths of support from family and friends, each woman’s expression of her private fears and hopes provides an inspiring look at the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Beautifully crafted by director Phyllis Ellis and featuring Kim Cattrall voicing excerpts from the late Leanne Coppen’s acclaimed blog, About Her is a funny, honest and eloquent portrait of nine different women all facing and embracing life in the wake of a common diagnosis.

Aunt Joan

Breast cancer is no stranger to me. As a child I learned about breast cancer from watching my Aunt Joanie fight it. She fought a long hard battle that she eventually lost in 1991. My Aunt Mary Lou also fought breast cancer and also lost her battle. My Grandmother stands out most in my mind because she opted for a mastectomy when she was in her 90’s and could have chosen to sit back and let it win, but she chose to fight. She didn’t win, but she had a little more time because of it.

Back: Hannah, Joe, Mom, Mary Lou Front: Grandpa & Grandma

We have happy stories too. My Aunt Hannah is a breast cancer survivor, and so is my Aunt Bea. I found my own lump when I was in my twenties, which turned out to be nothing but the weeks of waiting led to some serious soul seeking. I worry about my Mom who is the only woman in her immediate family who hasn’t had breast cancer. I worry about my cousin who lost her mother and I know has feared for her own mortality. My family has participated in a Canadian study about the genetics of breast cancer, but I’m unsure of the results. I hope that we helped them figure out something.

This show is very moving. There is the comedian (my description, I’m not sure if that is her occupation) who talks about “showing her tits to everyone because she may not get to keep them” and the woman who talks about just wanting to make it to 45. They are candid and real, and shared some things that I felt were important.

Things not to say to someone with cancer…

  • Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
  • We didn’t invite you because we thought you wouldn’t be up to it.
  • Should you be having that….glass of wine, tequila, burger, etc.
  • Think of cancer as a gift.

Instead try…

I love you and I hate that you have to go through this, and I’m here for you.

One of the women spoke about coming home to find a cooler on her porch, and a calendar showing where all of her meals would come from for the next year as her community embraced her and helped her fight. They talk about being tired, and sad, and overwhelmed. They admit to being angry, and to try and figure out where they got cancer from. To find someone to blame. They share their heartache about losing their hair and gaining weight from the treatments, and facing death.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.

I have been sitting her reading the blog of one of the women from About Her. Her name was Leanne Coppen and based on the search results when I looked her up, I would say that it is very possible you are already familiar with her. If you are like me and had not heard of her before, this is her site http://leannesayscanceriscrap.wordpress.com and although I just started reading, I would say it’s worth the read. Just have some kleenex nearby.



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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