by Mary Ann Wasil



11760172_10207275261189132_6920774461626220993_nEach week I make the short trip from my home to Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, to receive a lifesaving chemotherapy treatment for my stage four metastatic breast cancer.

For the last 11+years I have been making the trip to Suite B, at least once a month, oftentimes every three weeks, many times every two weeks, and more recently every single week – always on a Wednesday. In eleven years I’ve never gone longer than a month without spending a Wednesday, aka, my “spa day,” at the cancer center.

Since my recurrence 4+years ago, I have made it a silly ritual to snap a photo of my feet up in the “chemo-recliner,” post it to Facebook, and make a corny comment about the shoes I am wearing that day.

Interestingly enough, my “shoe posts” have become a hit with my friends and family – lots of support, warm wishes, shoe-envy, and always, always more love than this gal feels she deserves.

This week at chemo I learned about the passing of a friend I have been treated alongside for these last eleven years. It was a sobering moment for those of us in Suite B who knew this 47-year old mother and warrior.

I closed my eyes and put my head back, thinking of all the women who had reclined in these seven blue vinyl chairs in a room so tiny the chairs touch, which means that those of us in the chairs touch, as well.

I feel their love, their spirit, their fight, and their energy. It has been the greatest honor of my life to sit in this room this last eleven years. Every treatment is a chance to live another week…another two weeks…another three weeks…another month…another day.

When I posted my shoe-pic this week, this is what I said:

Feeling summery for chemo today in my ribbon-striped cork-wedgies…and thinking about all the beautiful women I’ve shared this treatment room with over the last 11+years… <3

My friend Christine Walsh Egan, a fellow breast cancer survivor, posted this comment:

Love the shoes…the 11 years breaks my heart.

I could feel her simpatico, and immediately knew I wanted to share this story with you.

I even double-checked with my sister before I sat down to write this piece…I asked her if I was romanticizing this last eleven years of my life, because I had never, not once, felt like I didn’t want to spend the day at the cancer center having treatment.

Crazy, huh?

This place is the most life giving and sacred space I have ever had the privilege to spend time in. These last eleven years have been the sweetest years of my life. The women I have sat beside – and touched – have been the bravest and funniest gals I have ever known.

I was so moved by my friend’s comment, what she felt FOR me…and yet…my heart has never broken once in the last eleven years for myself. It has for others. Like Christine’s has for me.

We’re women, after all, our hearts always ache for others, even if they never break for ourselves.





image courtesy of Mary Ann Wasil’s Facebook page