Hi Friends of Girls (and boys!) in Sheeps Clothing!
Melissa invited me here to guest blog and share my story with you all.
Where to begin?
How about how I know Melissa?
I say “know” because I know her through Ravelry and the Internet only. We met through a knit-along around Christmas time I believe (correct me here if I am wrong Mel?) as we both embarked on knitting a translated (and sometimes complicated) lace shawl for the month of December. Each segment of the lace shawl brought new techniques, new fun in making pretty holes with pretty string. Dropping stitches, messing up stitch counts and trying to understand the language translation challenges together. Let’s just say Melissa’s shawl turned out breathtaking and mine just turned out. :GRIN: I knew she had the lace thing down.
I worked at a yarn company for a while and I was able to bring Melissa aboard for some sample knitting. Lace of course. Her knitting presented in person was just as lovely as her pictures found on Ravelry. I loved her attention to detail. Also, Melissa’s own family had someone that struggled with cancer and my mom was a 32 year cancer fighter. We chatted a bit here and there about the challenges cancer brought to our families. Encouragement was always in Melissa’s correspondence with me! I am so grateful for her cheerful spirit.
Surprise came in 2010 when I myself was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. My own mother had just passed away from cancer 9 months earlier. What a blow to me this was! I had all my mammograms since age 21 and I did my monthly checks. How could this happen? I was only 41 years old. The thought of treatments and trying to raise my four kids with my husband during this time seemed very daunting. How did this girl get through it?
My first chemo treatment in “THE CHAIR” and I was terrified. But I brought knitting…
|Still knitting in "THE CHAIR" but now with no HAIR.|
I KNIT my way through it!!!
|LAST chemo! WHEW. This was a LONG road.|
16 infusions total of chemo…followed by 38 radiation treatments.
Towards the end of treatment, I wasn’t LACE knitting. But knitting was my way of coping with what was going on around me. It was my own personal “therapy” and it took my mind off of my side effects. Plus I had something to keep my mind occupied. I had lists of projects, I had things to make for my nurses/turned friends. It kept me busy.
One thing I desperately missed though was feeling girly, feeling feminine. Losing both breasts because of having BRCA-2 breast cancer gene was a tough blow. Then chemo puts you into chemically induced menopause. Add losing your hair (all body hair really!) and being allergic to your wig why it just seemed to add more insult to injury. I was pretty down.
Enter in Melissa.
After some encouragement from me, she took a leap of faith and she whipped up a beautiful lace shawl.
It took my breath away!
So delicate yet not at all weak. Have you seen her pictures of this beauty? Way more cool than mine…
This was a pink WARRIOR concoction that said YOU CAN DO IT.
And I did!
I fought cancer and so far…cancer hasn’t won.
Today, it will be 3 years this November since I was diagnosed. It’s hard to believe the woman in these pictures was me. It’s like it happened to someone else.
I can knit lace again. I can look to the future again with hope. I thank God every day for my blessings.
Yet I know there are women out there that are just starting their battles. They’ve just been told they have breast cancer.
They may be in the middle of treatment.
They may be struggling to finish their treatments.
They might even be fighting for a second or third time.
Those women are the true warriors. Those women are brave.
Rachel’s Shawl is Melissa’s way of making pretty holey string into making a woman feel pretty amazing wearing it. Not only women fighting breast cancer, geez, ALL us WOMEN desire that, don’t we?
And for the months of September and October she is generously donating the money raised from the pattern sales to my Breast CancerSupport group and their retreat held each fall. A scholarship fund will be set up for women that cannot afford to pay for this retreat. They will get a chance to relax, to be pampered, to get away from the hospital and treatments to be around those that understand what it means to go through cancer. MinnesotaOncology and Virginia Piper Cancer Institute partner to offer these retreats for women to share, to love and to heal more than what’s on the outside.
It’s what is on the inside.
Please consider buying a pattern today.
October is PINK month.
Breast Cancer Awareness.
It’s more than a ribbon.
It’s about sharing.
Thank you Melissa for sharing this pattern with me. Thank you for donating to an awesome cause that will help women with breast cancer. AND Thank you for letting me share ‘MY STORY’ here on your blog!