These are my friends. They have been my friends since I was a child and these are the friends I will grow old with. We used to be Girls, and though we still think of ourselves as Girls, we are really Women.
We are five women.
One in five women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Hold that thought.
This is Frank:
I call her that not only in the interest of privacy, but because that is what she and I do and always have done: when you are addressing the other in writing, the other is always "Frank" and you are "Herb." Since I am writing about her, she is Frank. If she were writing about me, I would be Frank.
She is Frank. She is my best friend. She has been my friend since I was five.
We grew up together, played together, danced together, laughed, cried, fought, made up, were separated, were reunited. We have never been parted long.
We became brides.
We became mothers.
Through all the milestones of my life, there has always been Frank. She is my baby.
And she is the one in five.
Frank goes in for surgery tomorrow because Frank has fucking breast cancer.
I don't have a good answer for that other than rotten, shitty, piss-ass, statistical bullshit luck. Frank doesn't have an answer either and frankly (ha), she is too busy taking on a no-bullshit, no prisoners, bring-it-on attitude to this ordeal to contemplate answerless questions, except in the wee, terrifying hours of night which is when we really need an Herb to talk our Frank off the ledge.
Frank will do what she has to do and I, Herb, will be there. At any hour.
If you are lucky enough to have a Frank in your life, if you are Herb to someone who felt the lump or got the suspicious mammo, if your Frank is waiting for results or already got the results and they weren't good...in the name of all Franks and Herbs, all mothers and sisters, all girls and women, please consider making a donation to Susan G. Komen or a cancer organization of your choice.
And please say a prayer for my Frank—wife, mother, daughter, dancer, friend. And so very precious to me.