A close friend received the news last week she had triple negative breast cancer. She's been in good spirits, taking care of her kids and doing her best to plan and research what's ahead.
Imagine, after a hard week, after working hard at your job and raising kids, being a single mom, hopeful and not losing your patience, you go in for a check-up and receive this news, then, days later, find out you'll be going in, immediately, for chemo and then a mastectomy. You don't even know if you can handle staring at your chest post-surgery. You feel like you don't have a choice. They ask you questions like, "Do you want more kids?" You ask why. "Because Chemo will damage your uterus. We can help you keep it, but it will cost you." And, there's so much more. Toppled on are the questions about cool caps, treatments if you want to keep your hair. All this, and you have your baby in-tow, because your support system is one person, 3,000 miles away.
She's a young mother like me. We both spent a lot of time getting on our feet and getting educated and being judged, when we knew our potential, and still do. This woman has a bright future ahead with her and her babies. I can't tell you her name, because the saddest part about being an Indigenous mother who's sick, is that if we share too much, we risk losing our children, or having our parenting scrutinized. This is a good mother who taught me how to deal with toddler tantrums and she's the one I share recipes with, who's always there to support me and other women. This is a beautiful woman, who just wants enough money to write a will, consult a lawyer about custody, keep some of her hair, get a good sitter, and pay bills she would ordinarily be working 70 hours a week for. She needs rest. So much rest. She needs to see people care, because we do.
What she needs that I can't cover is childcare, which will help when she is receiving chemotherapy and recovering, and for things like food and practical things, like gas or electric as she's not working in order to focus on recovery and her babies. I will do everything I can to see this woman with me when I'm a hundred years old. As a Native woman... a woman, period, I've seen too many women go too early. I can't imagine a place without the woman I gossip with every day. I honestly can't. Please help.