Saturday, October 22, 2011


This is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I have been wearing the pink ribbon on my blouse without thought.  It comes automatically for me.  In 1998 I lost my right breast to cancer.  No tears , please.

At Provident Hospital I facilitated a group called The Gratitude Group for Breast Cancer.  We met every Saturday for 5 years.  Our goal was to give support to survivors on a regular basis.  We found that once a month was not enough to address the issues of breast cancer.  Experts from throughout Chicagoland joined us.  We wanted the facts.  We all wanted the healing.  We wanted the emotional release. Eventually we expanded to include all cancers and opened our group to both men and families (children). I was supported and mentored by a city health worker, Mrs. Nadyne Griffin.

Our group was varied, consisting of wives, daughters, sisters, ministers, wealthy women, professional women, illiterate women, angry women and soft spoken women, women on welfare and working women, Christian women, Buddhist women, Muslim Women, Spiritualist Women, Straight and Gay women.   We bonded with a commonality.

Many of us were healed.  (The medical doctors say in remission.)  For some the cancer re-occured and for some there was death.  Through it all we learned to be grateful and to give thanks for our collective beauty.

I moved to Colorado and the group continued for another year.

In 2009 I returned to Chicago.  April, 2011 marked the second surgery to remove my left breast.  It was a different cancer that required a different set of drugs for treatment.  I was angry but recalled the Gratitude Group.  It was during the time of healing from the second cancer that I compiled  A book of love poems spanning almost 30 years. 

I am grateful to the ladies who attended the Gratitude Group for Breast Cancer.  The lessons continue to surround and sustain me.

A simple mammogram could simply mean your life.


  1. Joyce,
    This is beautiful and inspirational! I'm so glad you shared this on your blog! May I re-post this on my Facebook wall? Thank you for taking the time to remind us how important and precious our health is!

  2. Rachel, it's ok to re-post.