BRCA Surgeries, Breast Cancer, Angels and Strangers

Somewhere in South America a man named Sergio watches over me. We have never met. He saw me just once some fourteen years ago. My head was bald from chemo. During a tour of the manufacturing facility where I worked, Sergio had passed by my office on his way to visit the president of our company. He left behind a gift for me. A tiny pin of a winged angel. The president’s executive assistant delivered the angel to me along with instructions from Sergio that I was to wear the pin every day. I accepted this gift with pleasure, attached it to the collar of my winter coat and forgot about it.

Many months later with treatment completed the only visible sign of breast cancer that remained was a head full of curly hair that was way too short. The company’s Italian distributor remarked on my fashion sense and nearly crawled under the table when I had to tell him it was cancer, not the latest trend. His big brown eyes welled with tears as he described his closest friend’s struggle with lung cancer. For reasons unknown, I removed the angel pin from my coat, attached it to my business card and asked the distributor to give it to his friend. It had served me well I told him. My treatment was successful. Perhaps it would bring his friend luck. He thanked me effusively with a kiss on each cheek and a bear hug.

I do not know how the Italian distributor’s friend fared. It felt right to pass along Sergio’s gift to a stranger in need on the other side of the world. While I’m not a religious person, I do believe in the power of positive energy. That little angel pin had good karma.

The following year I heard from Sergio once again. He’d tasked the executive assistant with a check on my welfare. He wanted to know if I was wearing the angel pin. When she relayed to him that I’d given his angel to a cancer patient in Italy who needed it more than I did, an identical pin appeared in the mail from Brazil for me.

Ten days from now I will take Sergio’s angel pin with me to the hospital for my next surgery. I cannot say that I have worn it every day in the last fourteen years. But Sergio was right. I still need an angel in my camp. Another lucky charm of mine will carry the angel for me while I’m in surgery. With the power of an Oregon Ducks sock monkey and the angel, I’m all set. Muchas Gracias mi amigo, Sergio.

Duck Monkey sporting the angel pin as an earring.