Girls in Body Bags & Fighting Cancer


Sunday, June 04, 2006


Such a weekend. I pushed that heavy closet door slightly open and admitted that I am a breast cancer survivor. It is two years since my treatments concluded.

I went on with life as though I had an inconvenience. But sometimes I bubble up like a pending volcanic explosion. “Charmaine, please come walk in the fight against breast cancer,” fellow survivors have invited. Sorry, I can’t put on that pink cap. It might make the volcano blow. That would be messy.

Diana, a fellow cancer survivor (she also lost her sister to cancer) said, “You must come to the Festival of Life at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.” I said too busy. Spouse said, “No you’re not too busy. Go.” So I did. With three other women, one of whom lost her daughter to cancer, we piled in Diana’s Mercedes for the Festival of Life. I brought extra eye make up in case the pending eruption erupted. No full eruption, but I thought about how much my life has changed since the day a surgeon said my biopsy showed cancer.

Anyway, after some moving moments we piled back into Di’s Benz and dined at Jer-ne. Another longtime friend drove in. My darling Chef Dakota made all of us feel so special–and really full. Loved the oysters with shaved watermelon and rose jelly.

The evening’s news mentioned more soldiers killed in Iraq. I thought about all the girls (soldiers) coming home in body bags. And the dead boys (soldiers) too. For what? So now I’m pretty sure my emotional state has more to do with the helplessness I feel to change the moral and political cancer that has struck our country.

Thanks to Corinne for taking this photo of (left to right) Lois, June, Diana, me & Dakota at Jer-ne in the Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton.

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