Anita Lichman Live Like a Warrior

First post: Aug 14, 2019 Latest post: Oct 6, 2021
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On August 12th, after weeks of irregular mammograms and suspicious ultrasounds and painful biopsies, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). This is the most common form of breast cancer.  There are a lot of details about my diagnosis that impact treatment (HERC-, Estrogen+, Progesterone+ etc.) and we will share those as we go, ask if you want to know the specifics. 

Hearing the news that I had cancer was a shock and I sobbed and sobbed on the phone with my long time midwife (Suzy Zimmerman). Can you ever be ready to hear the unimaginable? The worst fears racing through my head, is this a death sentence? If anyone had to tell me this horrible horrible news I am glad it was Suzy, I trust and love Suzy and we have been through one other horrible medical situation before (my partial molar pregnancy that led to miscarriage and a cancer scare) and she knows just how I need to hear bad news. Straight up, no chaser. 

After hearing the news I felt devastated and numb. Time stood still. Everything around me was a blur. Talking to close friends who helped me hold this horribleness saved me, I was not alone and my strongest girlfriends helped me hold this heavy burden. So grateful to have such strong women around me, they rallied just like I needed them to. 

My fear is big and I am mostly scared for the impact this will have on the kids. Anytime I think about the kids having to face this with me I loose it. I’m strong. I have tenacity and grit. Steven has a way of accepting difficulties and coping.  But my kids, they are are so innocent and it is so unfair they have to face this at 6&8 years old. I’m already investigating cancer support resources for the kids and for parents  (the Dempsey Center offers so much to start) but  none of this feels good enough. None of this feels doable. None of this feels fair. 

You know what  else I am doing to cope? I’m rallying our TRIBE.  Our people who will walk through this and help us face the impossible. If you know me you know I’m pragmatic and mentally tough, but this CANCER has hit me emotionally and psychologically  hard. Very hard. 

Here is what you can do. 

Don’t leave us alone to fight this. Keep checking in, every single check in keeps us connected and supported. Not alone.

Be honest with your responses. If you are sad cry with us. If you are angry say it. If you feel like you have no idea what to say tell us say that too. It helps to know others have their own responses to this and validates the range of feelings and thoughts we are having too. 

Over the years I have questioned if meals I brought, rides I’ve given, children I’ve watched, hands I’ve held were enough. I questioned if any of it made a difference. I always wanted to do more.  Now, needing help myself, I can see every single kind gesture is a huge help. We know that things may start to happen fast and there will be a lot of changes for our family during this year (we are focusing on this first year) and we might need help with meals, house care, child care, our mortgage, transportation, etc. We will ask for help and anything you can do will matter. Even things we don’t think of but you see we could benefit from will help! 

Bring joy. To counter balance all the fear and sadness help us connect to things that make us happy. Nature. Family time. Physical activity. Reading. Theater. Countless other things that boost our family and bring us closer and make us stronger. 

Here is a great resource with specific ideas on how to be a friend to someone who has cancer.

Someone recently said to me that cancer is a marathon not a sprint. It’s no coincidence that I know how to do a marathon! In fact , as a good friend reminded me, I know how to do an ULTRA marathon. The song LIVE LIKE a WARRIOR has been on repeat at times while I’ve trained for marathons.  I’m using those words to build myself up so I can live like a warrior while I face cancer. 

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