This Girl Has No Secrets

Her Dad described her as a girl who has no secrets, because this 37 year old metastatic breast cancer patient has posted news about her condition on Facebook for pretty much the whole eight years during which the disease has plotted its intimidating course.

Intimidating is not a word Brigid would use. Battle cancer? This girl - well, woman - who was born tiny and has stayed tiny, around five feet tall (unless wearing the stilettos she favoured) and maybe 98 pounds at her lifelong heaviest, this sparkling spirit does not give up, and the Facebook posts don't tell the whole story. Last weekend, for example, when she relayed the news about the difficulty doctors were having to remove the fluid from her lungs, she mentioned that the first try, which she had dreaded, had not been so bad, but unfortunately not successful either. Her mother later filled in the news that Brigid had texted her at the grocery store to ask if they could meet up."Are you busy?" the text began.... Turns out that Brigid had driven herself to the emergency room when breathing became difficult. The hospital insisted that she have someone with her, but after eight years, Brigid does not like to ask, and all the usual suspects were out doing something else. Not that everyone would not have dropped what they were doing immediately. In addition to a loving husband and parents, and a nearby uncle, she has hundreds of FB friends who comment on her posts, send cards, flowers. The results of each new scan are greeted with words of encouragement, love, hope, or just the "that sucks" that some of her cousins write.

She has been the literal poster girl for the Susan G. Komen activities in her town. Local news broadcasters have interviewed her for a story about breast cancer in young women, in her case, first found when she was under 30. We know when her dogs have a new hair cut, and when her 18 year old cat dies. When her husband is away she sends I love u messages. She posts pictures of herself receiving chemotherapy, beaming from her recliner; group shots with some of her nurses; diagrams of the various conditions she is dealing with. She received the cancer diagnosis on her Dad's birthday, meaning that special day is bitter sweet, but they celebrate anyway, her with photo collages of them together, from her big eyed babyhood to her curly- haired childhood; him with a big bouquet of flowers to celebrate her cancerversary.

So it's no secret that she is in hospital, having endured another surgery, and now with a tube to drain the fluid that accumulates and oxygen to aid breathing. But there are no pictures, not yet. Instead of the stylish woman with the big earrings and the big smile, and a head wrap that matches her outfit, we have words from her husband, who is posting daily news on her behalf. One of the many things she has shown us is that there isn't a single battle when it comes to cancer, but days and weeks of small and large skirmishes, all of which leave some kind of scar. She's a veteran, still campaigning. Dear Brigid.