Today is October 1st, the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As someone dealing with this disease and all its ramifications I feel a sense of responsibility to remind women of the importance of getting checked regularly and to encourage men to support the women in their life that may be facing this disease too. All this month we will be inundated with tv and radio commercials, social media blasts and fund raisers all promoting the need for a cure. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. Look around your office, your local coffee shop, the gym, or your list of friends. Somewhere in that group there will be a woman who has or will develop breast cancer. That’s a scary thought. And it’s an even scarier reality. I know, because it’s mine.
Four years ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I heard that news I was devastated. The fear that I felt thinking I might lose my Mom to this horrendous disease was overwhelming. Her cancer was different than mine. At the time I thought all breast cancer’s were the same. There are actually seven different kinds. My mother underwent a lumpectomy, lymph node removal and then a year of radiation and chemotherapy. She lost all her hair and dealt with months and months of treatments. She fought like the warrior that she is and beat it. Her strength and conviction was an inspiration.
When I was diagnosed April 30 of this year, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. The doctor’s have said that there is no correlation between my cancer and my Mom’s. Given the types of cancer and our ages. I had asked if I should have genetic testing done called BRCA to see if I carried the gene that significantly increased the risk of certain types of cancer namely breast and ovarian. My surgical oncologist said that I didn’t fit the bill, that again my Mom’s cancer and mine were not related. But you can imagine how this has impacted my daughter. I know she felt the same fears I did when I told her I had cancer too. First her grandmother and then her mother. I can only imagine how scared she felt…and still does. I have tried to reassure her the best I can. She has seen that my Mom is ok and cancer free, and she has seen me come through my surgery to remove both breasts and therefore all my cancer. She knows that I will be ok and I have reassured her that she will be too.
October is breast cancer awareness month. For me and my family, everyday is breast cancer awareness day, month, year. Before I experienced this disease first hand, I was aware but it didn’t really impact my life. Sure, I would sponsor someone in a run or drop loose coins into a box but I never really was aware of just what breast cancer can do to a person and their family. My mother and I are very lucky but there are so many women who are not. Take action. Be supportive. Be Aware and let’s DO something to fight cancer.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.