How Nicole taught me to find joy in the journey

My friend's joyfully relentless journey through breast cancer showed me how to find joy in the moment.

How Nicole taught me to find joy in the journey

My friend's joyfully relentless journey through breast cancer showed me how to find joy in the moment.
  • Nicole is my friend. She is 42 years old. She has three children. She is a hot, little Latina who happens to have breast cancer. Nicole makes life a hoot.

  • She was diagnosed about two months ago, almost immediately underwent a double mastectomy, and is now undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy. It will be followed by radiation. Through it all, she has buoyed up her supporters in the fight! Here is an example of the tools she uses to entertain the troops of Team Nicole:

  • She sings and dances

  • At Christmas she danced around the living room with her 6-year-old daughter and me singing, "All I want for Christmas is my two front boobs!" I applaud her attitude. She knows that she is more than her breasts. She set us all at ease.

  • She shares

  • When her hair began to fall out, she shaved her head, but not completely at first. First, she had her sweet husband, Rick, shave a Mohawk which she naturally dyed pink. What else? It was a family event and they even captured it in photographs. She talks with people about her cancer.

  • She serves

  • She continues to serve others abundantly. She has no time for self-pity. She constantly seeks opportunities to care for the people she loves. I am the recipient of much of her charity and kindness.

  • She has faith

  • Nicole doesn't doubt. She doesn't doubt God's love for her. She doesn't spend wasted hours asking why this happened to her. She continues to pray, believe, study, and grow as a human being.

  • She is no martyr

  • She allows people to give to her. She understands that this will help them through her ordeal. She doesn't lock herself away. Because she understands that she did not bring this on herself, she goes for manicures — with pink ribbons. She plays with wigs and make-up.

  • For her, it's business as usual

  • Routines are still followed, with intermittent bouts of spontaneity. Her crazy brood is still up at 5:30 in the morning and she's right there with them. There is still family time, date night, and swimming at the YMCA.

  • She continues to grow

  • Knowing that she is in good hands medically and that her future looks bright, she continues to grow and learn. She has recently taken up knitting.

  • There is no morbidity or acute sadness in their home. It is just business as usual with the occasional interruption of a medical procedure. There is love and joy and much teaching going on there. Her children are happy and healthy and hopeful.

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  • Nicole is a shining example of the expression, "Come what may ... and love it." Things happen in our lives that we never expect to happen. There are a multitude of ways to deal with them. I hope that no matter what comes my way, I will be strong enough to be on Team Nicole.

Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom.


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