I'll warn you in advance, I might sound a little like I'm standing on a soapbox today. October 1st starts Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm sure that we all know someone who has been blind-sided by this terrible disease that can rob women of what is uniquely feminine about us.
Let me tell you a story. When my maternal grandmother was in her early 30's (which is my age), she found a lump in her breast. At that time, there had been very little research done and the treatment for breast cancer was fairly basic. The doctors preformed a radical mastectomy and removed diseased lymph nodes which left my grandmother with constant swelling and limited movement in the arm on the side of the surgery. She also received radiation treatment. For several years, things looked good. One evening, my grandmother became very sick. They took her to the hospital and a blood test revealed very scary blood count numbers. Doctors preformed surgery to gather bone marrow from her sternum, which they discovered was like honeycomb. They then attempted the same surgery on her hipbone and discovered it was in the same condition. The cancer had metastasized to her bones. After that diagnosis, my mother remembers awaking in the night to hear her mother crying in pain. The end came very quickly after that, but was excruciatingly painful. She wasn't even 40 years old. My mother was only 14.
So what does that mean for my mother, my 3 sisters, my daughter and I? Early screening for all of us, dedicated monthly self-exams and yearly breast exams by a doctor. Yes, they are a little uncomfortable and take sometimes more time than we think we have to spare. But do them. Remind your friends to do self-exams. Remind your moms and your sisters. Be annoying. And if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your family. They need you.
So wear pink this month (I've already got my Susan G. Komen bracelet on)
and save your pink Yoplait yogurt lids and send them in to fund raise for breast cancer research.
If the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in your area is a day when you can run, run! And pray that those we love will be protected from this horrible disease and that a cure will be found in our lifetime.