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Four Best Friends For Life

Three of the four “forever friends,” Marsha Underwood, Susan Jordan and Michelle Tozier.

by Cheryl Hodges

Roanoker Michelle Tozier was first diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, and says that “for me, the initial diagnosis of cancer was very frightening … because of the unknown. It took a few weeks for me to rebound” from that news.  “Now I count it as a blessing actually,” referring to the deep and valued friendships that have resulted from that trial.

Tozier says that when she first started chemo treatments, she noticed a gal (Marsha Underwood) who was also beginning her first treatment on that very same day. Tozier says when she saw the same woman a few treatments later, “she had all her hair” and I had already had to shave my head.” The nurse whispered that she thought that “hair” was a well-made wig. Suddenly there was something to really laugh about. It wasn’t long before the women became fast friends and confidantes, bonding through the hours of chemo treatments, which coincidentally they also finished on the same day.

Underwood introduced Tozier to two of her friends who were also dealing with breast cancer, Gaye Blevins (whose husband Dave worked in county schools, retiring as principal of Hidden Valley High School), and Susan Jordan.  The four were all diagnosed around the same time and are now all approaching their four year survivor mark.

Tozier stopped by Valley View this past weekend to see the “Pink Parade” and visit Panera which had tents and vendors outside. “They did some really neat stuff this year,” she said.  The four ladies make it a point to support breast cancer causes; “we get to a lot of things that [center around] breast cancer.” They plan on going to Le Cheveux salon at Towers Mall on October 27 for the upcoming ladies night out.

“This is friends for life,” says Tozier, “[we will] be there for each other forever.” She adds that currently they are “all doing well and surviving.” Tozier points out that “some women don’t want to talk about it; [they feel] they have ‘been there and done that.’ But to me it’s great to share; it inspires other women who are just beginning the journey.”

“I’ve met so many women; everywhere I go I meet a survivor and we talk and we share things,” she added. “It has opened up a whole different world of sisterhood.” Tozier is upbeat as she describes her experience: “These are such deep friendships – and it’s all through cancer.”

She wants other women facing the diagnosis to know there is hope, and with a laugh adds, “your hair is going to be pretty and thicker.”

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