Meanwhile in the Midst of Cancer…

The month of October in America means fall leaves, spooky costumes for Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness. Throughout this month, shades of pink colored items are proudly displayed. Items range from the pink cleats that NFL players sport during games, pink pumpkins and pink ribbons pinned to a lapel, all in the hopes that the cure will soon be found.  Last October 2011, this month of awareness became a reality for my friends and I.

My friend and co-worker, Sarah* sat at her desk that Autumn morning anxious. She had found a lump a few weeks back and it was the morning that the results were due. We were all anxious. We were an office full of women clicking away at their computers trying to work but fully aware that life changing news was on its way. I am not sure how she was able to get to work that day, in such a put together manner. Her hair was done precisely and her make-up perfectly in its place. The phone rang, and we all stopped clicking and clacking away at our keyboards. It became very silent in the small office. Not a breath in the room was spent while Sarah listened closely to what the doctor had to tell her.

She quietly hung up the phone and walked to a private office. We knew it was bad and that she had breast cancer.

The month would end with her planning for a life event she had not expected. Being a single mom with 3 kids, ages ranging from 4 to 14 was going to get a lot more complicated. Sarah was in and out of work the rest of the year, as she underwent a series of procedures and surgeries. When she was back at her desk she worked with a smile on her face even while in pain. She inspired me. In an attempt to eradicate the deadly cells from her body she went for the double mastectomy, a surgery that is intense on so many levels. Just last week and nearly 1 year from her date of diagnosis, she had one of her last reconstructive surgeries and is cancer free. We all are thankful that she is healthy again and of course being the hard worker that she is, you can find her already back at work.

The most extraordinary thing about Sarah is that while fighting cancer, getting her kids through school that year and working her butt off at work to provide for her family, she was a humanitarian. On Sunday mornings, I often open up Facebook and find a post from her. Her posts those Sunday mornings share the work she is doing while serving the homeless community at that very moment. She serves others even when she is one in pain, the one battling an unpredictable enemy, the who probably should be in bed resting.  Throughout this past year — on her day off, she has taken her children along and served the homeless community of Sacramento Ca. Passing out food, clothing, and listening to their stories, she is serving those who need. She has given her time, energy and heart to strangers. When I asked her to describe her work with the homeless she said this:

“Ahhh Yeah! — Working with the homeless & giving back feels so right. I’ve been so blessed, even with Cancer and I love that I can teach my children how to give to others in need.   — so ‘Ahhh yeah’ it is the best feeling ever.”

Thank you Sarah for fighting so hard against Cancer, inspiring me  and making this place a better with your heart of gold!

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

*Name has been changed