In 1990 I pledged Alpha Gamma Delta sorority at Troy University. Immediately upon accepting the invitation to pledge Alpha Gam I became part of a Circle of Sisterhood that meant much more than my 18 year old mind could understand at the time. There in the fall of my first quarter in college, I had sisters who helped me know which classes to take, which boys to avoid, and how to survive living away from home for the first time. My four years at Troy were wonderful for many reasons, but especially because of the lessons I learned and the friendships I made in Alpha Gam. At the time I assumed the benefits of the sisterhood would not necessarily extend beyond the college years. But I was very wrong. When I packed a bag and moved to the most remote island chain in the world for graduate school, it was an Alpha Gam who picked me up from the airport and put a lei around my neck. My first few months in Hawaii when I knew no one, it was the Alpha Gams on the island that reached out to me and took me in as family. Thanksgiving, Christmas, graduation my Alpha Gams were part of it all. I left Hawaii in 2003 and moved back to Montgomery, then in 2004 I got married. Two of my Alpha Gam sisters flew all the way from Honolulu to celebrate with me. The bonds of the sisterhood that began in 1990 have taken many shapes over the past 24 years, and they have gotten stronger with each passing day.
Now, I have many opportunities to meet young Alpha Gam sisters and share my journey with them and teach them how Alpha Gam has benefited me and I always remind them to give back to the Circle that has given them so much.
In 2014 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I became part of a whole new sisterhood. These new sisters of mine have walked the dark road of cancer, they have fought the battle and won. Now they are bringing me into their fold - encouraging me, supporting me, teaching me. I've been amazed how I've been reached out to from women all over the country. They tell me their story of survival, but I've found a similarity amongst them -- they do not focus on the tough part of the journey. They all focus on the victory and the immense lessons they learned and still learn from their journey.
I did not chose this sisterhood of cancer like I chose Alpha Gamma Delta, but I know the bonds of this sisterhood will get stronger with each passing day. Then one day I will have the opportunity to teach, encourage, and support new sisters as I give back to the Circle that has given me so much.
I will rely on all of my Circles of sisterhood, friendship, and family over the next few months as I go through my cancer treatment. Tomorrow is my first of eight chemotherapy treatments. Although I feel as prepared as possible for what to expect, my anxiety level is definitely elevated. I'm a girl who takes no medication, ever. The strongest pill I've taken is an Advil. So the thought of flushing so much mess through my system is overwhelming. But it is temporary. And it is lifesaving. And it's time.