One help in getting me through diagnosis and chemo has been the chance to talk to other women with breast cancer who have been through what I’m going through now. Surprisingly to me, there’s actually an organization in Erie that is dedicated to young women (45 and under) who have been diagnosed with breast cancer called Linked by Pink. I managed to look up the group before I started chemo and noticed one of their social meetings was planned the day before chemo. I was a little nervous going into the group cold, but I was so glad I did since I was able to get some “in the trenches” tips and support before I even started my treatment.
Every month, they plan a meeting. At the moment, they schedule two social gatherings for every one support meeting. Last week was a support meeting, so there was a little more structure to the meeting than the social meetings that happen at a bar or restaurant. I was happy to see a few people I recognized from the first event I went to, so I had someone to sit by and see how they were doing. We spent the first bit of time just chatting, but went around the room and introduced ourselves and when we were diagnosed. I talked a little longer than most of the other women there since I’m just starting treatment and I’m new to the group.
The other news that took up much of the time was The Living Pink Pageant. One of our members (Angela) participated in this when she lived in Seattle, and she’s managed to get it started here in Erie this year.
There are five contestants competing to raise the most money for Linked by Pink. Many local organizations are donating materials for the competition (dresses, flowers, and the like) and we even get two drag queens to keep the energy up and move the contestants through the parts of the pageant. Sadly for me, it’s two days after my next round of chemo, so I know I won’t have the energy to go, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe next year, right?
Once again, I was really happy to go and talk to other women who have been where I am now. The conversations are much different since you can talk about things like where was your port located on your chest, or how bad did your Neulasta shots feel. It’s definitely something to push myself to go to, if I at all have the energy. The next social get together is October 1st and will be held at Claytopia. We’ll see if I make it since it will be less than a week after chemo and I’ll still be in the depths of side effects. Linked by Pink does keep a calendar of upcoming events if you know someone who would benefit from joining us.