I made my first visit to New Jersey this past weekend and the circumstances surrounding this trip are pretty freaking cool. I belong to a Facebook breast cancer support group which I also help moderate. There are two admins and one other moderator of this group, and I met all three of these kickass ladies for the first time at Mary’s Place by the Sea in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. One actually lives in New Jersey, one lives in New York, and the other lady and I are from Arizona. Mary’s Place is a spa/retreat for women undergoing cancer treatment or are recent cancer survivors. We each had our own rooms with our own bathrooms, common areas for recreation and dining, and vegetarian breakfast and lunch were provided. The food was excellent. For dinner the four of us went out partying, raised hell and painted the town pink (which is actually code for walking to the local pub and taking Uber back to Mary’s).
During our stay we were offered complimentary treatments such as gentle yoga, oncology massage, reflexology, meditation and others that escape my memory just now. There were other ladies outside of our group staying at Mary’s for the weekend and all but one were breast cancer survivors. This is how prevalent breast cancer is. It’s disturbing and sinister.
Besides having the opportunity to visit this incredible retreat and meet my three group admin counterparts, we conducted a Facebook Live Q&A and prize giveaway session for our group of nearly 7,000 members while we were there. One of the interesting aspects of our collective experience, is all four of us had varying diagnoses and treatments. All four of us have undergone bilateral mastectomies, three of us have had chemotherapy, one has had radiation and three have had reconstruction surgery. So even though we are all not necessarily boobless anymore, we did lose our breasts. The ones God gave us. The ones that showed up at puberty and later fed our children. They were perky and saggy, big and small and somewhere in between. We might have loved them or hated them or a combination of both during our lifetime but one thing is for certain-we never wanted to lose them to cancer. We now have each other to lean on, to lift up when we are down, to understand how much of our lives are affected by this disease. I cannot imagine my life without these ladies in it. #breastfriendsforever