Thankfully the 31 Day Challenge officially starts on October 1 and I as getting a head start. I already missed Day 2! There just was no time to write yesterday. Well, other than if I had set an alarm and gotten up earlier or if I had stayed up past my bedtime and wrote then. As you can see, that didn’t happen.

So back to my questions. Where did I leave off? Am I the friend I want to be? Am I the woman I want to be? I am sure there are more areas of my life that could be brought into question. For the sake of time and to not beat a dead horse with this one way of discovering me, I will answer these two and move on to other avenues of discovery.

2016 has been an interesting year for me and for my family. On January 11, 2016 I was officially told that I had breast cancer. DCIS and IDC in the right breast that was triple positive and grade 3. DCIS stands for Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. IDC stands for Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and means some cancer cells had moved outside of the duct. Triple positive refers to the fact that my cancer cells tested positive for Estrogen, Progesterone and HER2. Apparently my cells fed off of my own hormones and protein to help them grow and multiply at a fast rate. Grade 3 on a scale of 1-4 determines how aggressive my type of cancer was. Plainly said it was aggressive. The good news was we caught it REALLY early. It was classified as Stage 1. It would have been Stage 0 except it was just slightly over the maximum size for that stage. It could have been Stage 2 but thankfully it had not spread to my lymph nodes and the size was small enough to stay in the Stage 1 category. With early detection and aggressive treatment my outlook is extremely bright!

In light of the treatment that lay ahead I set up a Helping Hands Calendar. A friend of a friend had told me about it when we were emailing about cancer treatment. It sounded like a terrific idea. You set up a calendar and post your needs for rides to Dr Appt, treatment, meals to be delivered, house cleaning, whatever. People can sign up for whatever items fit their schedule, budget and energy/commitment level. You don’t have to ask and hear no or call 10 different people trying to find someone who can help you. And your friends don’t have to feel guilty saying no. It is perfect in my opinion. In setting it up I realized that I had to invite people to join the calendar as it is private. Here is where I got a little nervous. Who would want to be added to my calendar? What if no one did? Or only a couple of friends. What if I was asking for too much help? I made a post on Facebook explaining what I was doing and asking anyone who wanted to be added to reply to my post. The response blew me out of the water! When all was said and done I had 72 friends signed up on the Helping Hands Calendar. The biggest complaint I got was that every time they logged in to sign up all of the opportunities were already taken. I’m not joking, they complained. My hear was beyond overwhelmed with how people responded. I posted this on Facebook and several friends told me something along these lines, “You are one of the most giving, generous people we all know. It is finally time that we can give to you.” A compliment like that was hard for me to receive. I can think of all the times I have failed a friend, didn’t reach out, hurt someone’s feelings, didn’t jump at the chance to help someone because I had too much going on. And here they were telling me that they see all of the times I/we do reach out and help others. If I made a list (I wouldn’t because it would so look like bragging in a terrible way) of all of the things Tom and I have done to help others, it would be long indeed. We don’t do them to earn points or keep a standing record or toot our own horn. We do them out of a sincere appreciation for the life we have, the help I received in the past and the love we want to share. Our friends let us know in a very mighty way that they see that and were standing ready to give back to us. What a joy!

Am I the friend I want to be? If I had answered the question myself I am sure it would have started with the times I have failed and a hope to be an even better friend. Instead I will look to what our friends said and showed us this year and say, Yes I am the friend that I want to be. I hope I continue to be that friend all the more as the years go on.

The last question, Am I the woman I want to be? I will have to answer that one tomorrow as my time for writing today is coming to a close.

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