Sharon P: Warriors All
So, there I was minding my own business taking a power walk through Mother’s Beach
In Long Beach, Ca. I had a t-shirt on with the slogan “Save the Tatas” stretched across my perfectly reconstructed 36 D chest. When off to my right a small, very small Asian lady crossed my path and asked me if I was a breast cancer survivor. “Why yes, as a matter of fact I am” I answered. I wonder what gave me away~? You should come out and try out our Dragon Boat team she told me. Who me~? I’m sure you must be joking. What did I know about Dragon Boating~?
At that time I was a 12 year survivor, having had a double mastectomy in 1997. Both my grandmother and my mother were also stricken with the disease. They both had different treatment options than I and their outcomes were also very different from mine.
I don’t really know what caused me to venture forward, but three weeks later I was sitting in a rather large heavy boat with 20 other breast cancer survivors. I didn’t know a soul on that boat. I had never been on a team, nor had I ever held a paddle in my hands, let alone try and keep up the timing with 19 other paddlers.
What I did know….they were all survivors, they were all fighters, they were all sisters joined by a common event in their lives that made them all brave. I got off the water that day and I was “hooked” and never looked back, well, a few times I did, when I was sure I would never be able to get that stroke or rotation just right.
We don’t usually share “cancer” stories my girls and I. We don’t really share our “treatment” stories, hair loss, surgeries, or our darkest days. We don’t focus on what has been taken from us, what we live with each and every day, that is an unspoken truth. What we do share…our LIFE stories.
I know about their children, grandchildren, aging parents, husbands, pets and mostly about their world travels. We talk about how we can work harder and “pull more water” in the boat so as not to let down our other team members. We worry about our bench mates and if they are having a “good paddle day.”
Each and every week we get into that very large heavy boat, put our paddles up, twist our bodies into our “perfect rotation” and “take it away”. Warriors all.