A Club We Don’t Want to Belong To

Last week I posted several messages on my Facebook about wanting a “do over” week.  As the week went by, it seemed as if news in my life got more and more depressing. I wasn’t able to share the biggest part; it wasn’t my place to tell yet. Now that Michele has had a chance to tell her news, I feel as if I can share. She said it was ok. So there.

My friend Michele from Living on Less is the type of gal who should have Web M.D. locked off of her computer. I love Michele, but even she says that it’s not a good site for her. She has almost everything that she reads. Even if she doesn’t have a prostate.

Michele found a lump in her breast. She has a history of cancer in her family, so understandably she was a bit anxious. She had a mammogram, then an ultrasound and finally a needle biopsy all in the same day. After her appointment she called me. I think the only joy she had that day was giving me the details of her biopsy and hearing me go ewww, ewwww.  She said, “You are making the face, aren’t you?” (I make awful faces when people tell me medical stuff. I’m squeamish.) I agreed that I indeed was making the face and that made her laugh.

Then we waited a few days. Those days were long. If they were long for those of us who knew, I can’t imagine how long they were for her. Our other friend Jenny and I kept reassuring each other and Michelethat it would be fine. It was a blip on the radar.  It had to be. It couldn’t happen to our friend. All would be fine and we would laugh about this later, right?  Not so much as we found out.

You see, Michele found out that she has stage one non-aggressive breast cancer. They caught it early, which is good.  She has already seen the doctors that she needs to see and was medicateda bit for anxiety and depression.  She is very pro-active in her treatment.

Michele had already cried before she called me with the results, so she was calm. That meant I had to be calm. My first thought was F***! How could this be happening to my friend?! I decided to just listen. I knew this would be a short conversation; she was calling because she needed to call.

“What do you want to do now?” I asked.

“I don’t know at this point,” Michele answered. “Just get a razor blade and cut my breasts off?”

I said the first thing that came into my head. “Well if you do that, your shirts won’t pucker anymore.”

That got a good laugh out of her. She even told her doctor that later and he laughed, too.

She wants to get a pink ribbon tattoo on her breast.

Again, without thinking, I said, “When you get old, it can be a nice long ribbon.” That made her laugh even more.

“By the time I’m old, the ribbon will be a string.”

Before ending our conversation, because Michele was tired and just wanted to go to bed, she told me I could share the results with our friend Jenny. Her reaction equaled mine in shock and disbelief.

The next day when Michele and Jenny talked, they came up with an idea that was fabulous, in their minds.  They can’t get tattoos,  Michele really shouldn’t be putting tats on her chest. Jenny had kidney disease and she can’t be tatted up either. So the two rocket scientists decided that I should get two tattoos on my butt. A pink one for breast cancer and a green one for kidney disease. I don’t think so. I cry getting a blood draw. It gave us all something to laugh about. I think we are going to need much to laugh about in the coming months.

Now Michele and her family and friends are in a club we don’t want to belong to,  Club Breast Cancer. Not as fun as the trip she planned to Chicago.  Even though none of us asked to join, we wouldn’t miss out on being associate members for anything in the world. Michele didn’t sign up for this, but she belongs. Whatever Michele is going to belong to, we are going to belong too.

Here is Michele’s post about her diagnosis. If you have a chance to stop by and say, Hi, I’m sure she would love it. She is also looking for folks to guest post on her blog. There may be days she is too tired to post and to have some back up posts would be great. Feel free to contact her via her blog or let me know.


A huge Thank you to Audrey, from Minnesota Prairie Roots for editing a rambling post and making it readable.



  1. Patricia Doemland says:

    Oh Bernie I am so sorry that Michele has to deal with all this. A friend of mine had two breasts removed and she drew foxes and had the plastic surgeon reproduce their noses as nipples on her new ones. He was a bit put off at first but then did a good job on them. Thirty-five years later, both she and her foxes are doing very well. xoxoxoxoxo to you both.

  2. Not a club you want to belong to, you’re right. But it is growing all the time. I just this second saw on the news that doctors are saying taking an aspirin a day can prevent cancer…I wonder.

  3. Thank you for your heartfelt post. Two of my writing friends are battling cancer right now–breast cancer and lung cancer–and it’s difficult. They both have kept their sense of humor–and I agree that it’s the best defense.
    I wonder if you could find some temporary pink ribbon tattoos? Wouldn’t that be a hoot to share?

    • I’m sorry about your friends. Its hard waiting and wondering. Oh, I bet there are some fake tattoos out there somewhere. What a great idea!!

  4. Cancer is a very difficult thing to deal with, even for family and friends. I’m so glad that you and Michele are friends because having a very good friend to talk to through all of this is, in my opinion, more important than nearly anything else. And, with your sense of humor and closeness with Michele, I know that you’ll be able to make light of some heavy situations. Situations where most people are just too afraid to say the “wrong” thing, so they say nothing at all. A good laugh is ALWAYS better than silence!

    I’m so happy to hear that, while cancer is never a good thing, it was caught very early. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the MRI results find nothing else (even false positives.)

    • Thank you. I honestly think if someone overheard us talking they would think that we were not wrapped right. However, that is part of the fun!

  5. Well today was the MRI so hopefully I will get the results of that tomorrow at my Dr.s office. Fingers toes and overies crossed that all thats there is the one spot. MRIs are known for faulse possitives though so I am goona try to not freak out before I get to see my wonderful physician. Thanks Bernie, your making me laugh may make me sound manic, but it in fact keeps me saine. Love you! :)

    • You so have a great Dr. I’m very thankful for that. He knows how to calm you and and get you back into reality. *lol*

  6. Oh Bernie a sucky club to be a member of and I know about belonging to sucky clubs! Glad she has a friend like you to keep her laughing and to remind her about all the good in things to keep her fighting harder!

  7. bernie sucky club to belong to but I am happy you are there for your friend. She will need you to keep her laughing and to remind her what she is fighting for. Hugs to you both!

  8. Bernie, You are a fabulous friend to Michele. Laughter can speed healing so much. Keep it up!

    • Thanks, Ann. I do hope that you and Michele and Jenny get a chance to do a girls lunch or something soon.

  9. This is incredibly difficult, Bernie, to have someone you love so much diagnosed with cancer. But it sounds like the cancer was caught early enough to beat it. I so admire the deep and loving friendship among you, Michele and Jenny. Love and support can go a long way in the healing process.

    (You’re welcome re. the editing. Any time, my dear.)

    • It was caught early, which we are thankful. It will be difficult for her, but not as much so if it was caught later. At this point, humor is our best defense. Thank God we all have the same type of sense of humor. I fear that if folks who didn’t know us, heard us talk, they would think we were evil. *lol*

      Your editing the piece helped a lot. I know it was scattered and all over. I don’t think I even paid attention to punctuation. I just wanted to write it and be done.


  1. […] ribbon when I blogged about my best friend, Michele, finding out she had breast cancer.  “A Club We Don’t Want to Belong to” was a very hard post to write. Thankfully, she is cancer free and doing […]

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.