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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Everyone needs a Billy

Everyone needs a Billy. A close friend was having a biopsy and I offered to drive her. “Billy will take me.” Her husband; of course Billy would take her. “I didn’t have a Billy,” I replied.

It was August 2006 – 15 years ago to the week – that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in a new town, recently separated, and I felt very much alone. I drove myself to my biopsy. As I reminisce all these years later, I did have a ‘Billy’ – no, not a husband or partner, but a village of people who stepped up, leaned in and did what they could to support me and my kids during this time. New friends and co-workers who became more like family during my health challenge. I had a Jackie and a Summer, a Lisa and a Jan (among others).

This week a close friend (sister by choice) got a diagnosis. She has a ‘Lori’. Lori is taking notes, asking questions, instilling calm. That is what you need when you face something frightening; something that will change your life forever. Buy a notebook or journal to keep track of information and questions, concerns and details, and take a ‘Lori’ to your appointments.

My annual message for breast cancer awareness usually goes out in October, but the universe has suggested otherwise this year. We need to prioritize health screenings for the ‘regular stuff’ as much as we are prioritizing Covid tests and vaccinations. For women, that means annual well-women exams and mammograms. And the message remains the same:

  1. Make an appointment. Women, please prioritize and keep your appointment. Men, support the women in your life to prioritize their health. We are all better when women prioritize their health.

  2. Take Advil before and buy yourself a gift after.

  3. Whatever information the screening tests provide, know that information is power and face that diagnosis with strength.

This year I add a new suggestion: take a Billy, a Lori, or a ‘Barb’ with you (Barb’s got your back too).

Healthy Ta-Tas for all.

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