"My cancer scare changed my life. I'm grateful for every new, healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life." ~Olivia Newton-John
Who can't relate to what Olivia said? It can and WILL change your life - forever. Sadly, for some, that opportunity to experience a full life will never come.
I am the type of person to champion many causes, however, I usually steer clear from the cancer arena. It frightens me.
At 22, I remember standing in the Bibb County Health Department crying my eyes out to the doctors on duty because I felt a lump in my breast. I did not have insurance at the time (this is back before Obama was in office - obviously - and children of a certain age were unable to remain on their parent's insurance. (Thank you Obama for fixing that!) I was a college student - so no insurance for me.) Later, I found out it was just fibrocystic.
Then at 27, I had some issues with my cervix and later would have a hysterectomy due to cancerous cells. Then, this past year - I ended up waiting patiently for results after a routine mammogram showed some "abnormalities." Turned out - fibrocystic, again.
I met Teta (the egyptian's grandmother) just a couple of weeks before she lost her battle with breast cancer. She did not speak English, nor I Arabic - but her smile captivated me, and her soft little wrinkled hands made me feel welcomed in her home. She died just two weeks after I left Egypt.......
I found out last year (or so) a friend of mine from Boston ended up with Breast Cancer. She is my age. Seeing pics (post chemo) was tough. My dear, strong, spunky friend was on the battle of her life......
One of my best friends from childhood, Bridgett, lost her mother after a very long battle with breast cancer. Bridgett's mom was like a second mom to me. I hate to know that she will not get the opportunity to see her grandchildren grow into the beautiful women they are going to be......
If things had turned out bad from my little mammogram visit - what would life be like for me now? Would I be laying in bed, sick from chemo and radiation? Would I only have one breast? Would my mom be here with me - taking retirement a little earlier due to a sick daughter? Those thoughts scare me......
That very fear is why I decided to devote my blog page to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Yes, yes - I work for the "other" guys - the Heart people - and yes, we compete for the same donor dollars and media air time (so .. yes.. cancer is my biggest competitor) - but it is STILL something that needs to be addressed. All of us - every woman (and men are at risk also, don't forget) - have a fear of it striking someone we love - or even ... us.
I pray to GOD it is not something I will ever have to deal with. Oh how I pray to God. That's the scary thing about cancer... those genes can turn on you. Add to it a less than healthy lifestyle and BAM - death can come a' knockin' - or not. Either way, you are in for the fight of your life.
There is one more person I need to mention. My 2nd cousin - Brenda. She has spent the past year battling breast cancer. She is my mom's age, and it looks like she is on the mend. But I often think of her daughter, my cousin Holly, who is my age. What if that was MY mom? I live so much further away. What would happen? How does that work?......
My only hope is that one day - there will be a cure. Or something...
I decided... that for each new follower I get from 10/10/10 until 10/17/10 - I will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research. I know for a fact, this is a credible organization and would appreciate anything any of us would be willing to give.
If you have a friend with a story about Breast Cancer, or if you would like to write about a friend or family member who lost their battle - I will gladly accept a submission as a guest blogger and post it this week.
If you are a survivor and would like to leave a comment, please do.
I figure.. it's the little things, right?
For all of the people who might be reading this that are facing their greatest battle, I give you this quote:
"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when some thing's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." ~Barbara Bloom