STORIES Breast Cancer Awareness A friend indeed After 16 days I was finally able to do the unthinkable…walk! Not wanting to push my luck the first couple of days were testing the water. Pottering around the house. It was then time to take that big step…hitting McDonald’s!! As I strutted into the food court I have to admit I was expecting some applause, for everyone to put down their food, stand up from the table and give me a slow clap standing ovation. Alas, no one gave a shit. But this was still my moment. My visit back to the real world! And I survived. I wasn’t able to finish a happy meal but I’d made it out of the house and back. Following this triumph I decided a trip to Kirstin’s was not only on the cards but also finally within my capabilities. Kirstin and I have been friends since school (I would say 22 years but it seems mathematically impossible that I was at school 22 years ago so we will just say its been a long time!) She has been my rock for many years and cradled me in her bosom, both metaphorically and sometimes if I’m lucky, literally. I’ve had some really low points over the last 6 years and she has never said the wrong thing. Once I even showed up at her house with a baby in a car seat in the middle of the night and was greeted with open arms and given a drink and a bed. So when I’m in a slump a trip to K’s is always medicinal! Friends and family have been so instrumental in getting me through the last few months. The week following chemo is a very lonely time (by choice in some respects). I don’t have the energy to talk to anyone, text anyone and certainly not enough energy for visitors. But I’ve always known there have been people there when I need them. Whether its the mums at the school willing to look after my children, friends just sending a text to see how I am (even if I don’t reply!) or coming to visit when my hellish weeks are over. I have a whatsapp group with my sister and 3 friends and its a lifesaver in the hell week. I know I don’t need to reply but I still feel like I’m part of society! I can read the conversation and its like being sat in the corner at a party. You can enjoy everything thats going on even if you’re not getting up and dancing. They say you find out who your true friends are in times like this and not only have my existing friends come through for me, but I’ve reconnected with old friends too. Friends I haven’t spoken to in years. As corny as it sounds, this whole experience has made me realise how important people are. Never mind work, money, etc, its nothing without the people around you. So while I have neglected my friends over the last few months I know the ones that will still be there when this is over. And I will be making an effort to be a better friend. To make more time for people and to put them first. So to everyone who is persevering despite my lack of response, thank you. It doesn’t go unnoticed!