One in Five Women

One in Five Women


I had a colonoscopy Thursday," she said. She rocked rhythmically in her chair, a family heirloom. "They found a mass. It's about the size of a tennis ball, and it's probably malignant."

Fact: one in three women in the United States will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Ya-Ya Footprints in PEI's red sand. August 20, 2003

We traveled to PEI together in 2003. Magic.

She looked around at the four of us, and she rocked and rocked. "I'm going in for a CAT scan. They want to make sure it hasn't metastasized to my liver."

Fact: one in five women in the United States will die from cancer in their lifetime.

Bar Harbor Ya-Ya, April 2004

We spent a weekend together in Bar Harbor in 2004.

"I'll have to have chemo and radiation." She touched a hand to her head. "When I start losing my hair, I'm just going to shave it off," she said with a measure of defiance. "I heard it grows back thicker."

Fact: one in twenty women in the United States will develop colon and rectum cancer in their lifetime.

Our official Ya-Ya portrait in 2007.

We had a professional photographer take our picture in 2007.

"I'm going to keep working," she announced decisively. "I've already told them at work, and they said I should do whatever I need to do."

Fact: one in fifty women in the United States will die from colon and rectum cancer.

Ya-Yas at Linda's retirement in January 2009.

We celebrated Linda - our Retirement Queen - in 2009.

"I haven't cried yet," she confessed, her voice breaking as she tucked her chin towards her chest."Now would be a good time," I commented. Salty paths already traced my cheeks.We enjoyed lunch at Pickety Place in 2010.

We enjoyed lunch at Pickety Place in 2010.

"While we're all together," another agreed.We formed a circle in her kitchen, boob to boob and womb to womb. Our arms interlaced tightly; our faces uncharacteristically sober.Ya-Ya Feet, June 2012, North Beach, NH

We replicated our 2003 circle of feet in the sand in June of this year.

"We love you," I said.We exchanged kisses; twenty kisses in all around the circle. We were chuckling by the time we finished. Exchanging kisses within a linked circle of five women can be awkward. And funny.We spent the weekend in North Conway in September 2012."Christmas Ya-Ya next!" The declaration was met with enthusiastic agreement. A date was set."Text us Wednesday when you know." The new reality crept back in."I will. Drive safe. Love ya!"

Fact: One of my Ya-Yas has cancer. We are supporting her to be a survivor, and will treat her with as much humor, "Amazing Grace," prayers, Reiki, wine and love as it takes to make her survival a fact. Prayers, she tells me, are welcome.

P.S. Ya-Ya Linda passed on March 2, 2015, from complications resulting from this initial diagnosis. She is deeply, deeply missed.


Buckle Up