Monday, October 1, 2007

Awareness

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.

4 comments:

the mom said...

Well done, Amber. And thank you.

the mom

Anonymous said...

Beautifully shared, Amber. I would love to send this page of your blog on to some girlfriends, but I wanted to make sure it was okay with you first - not sure if your blog account shows who has looked at your site and didn't want to alarm you with unknowns (funny since we just discussed this about my photo account).
Thanks and take care.
Courtney

Rosanne said...

Great post, Amber, thank you. I would also like to share this with some of my friends...but I'll wait to make sure that's okay with you. Take care!

shawna b. said...

Amen, Amber!

I've done the Race for the Cure, and it is a very powerful experience - it still chokes me up when I remember all the people running with their "in Memory Of" t-shirts, and all the survivors in their pink caps.

Each year Charlottesville does a Women's 4 mile race with the proceeds going to breast cancer research. The last mile of the race is run down a beautiful country road with a split rail fence that has hundreds of signs with names of breast cancer victims, as well as survivors, posted on them. I participated again this past month, and will never forget the image of one of my friends running that last mile and then breaking away from the pack to go and get her mom's name off the fence. She carried the poster with her and crossed the finish line with "her mom", who died a few years earlier. And here I sit, sobbing, just at the thought of it. You are right - our families need us here, so really any time we spend with examinations and check-ups is time very well spent.

Thank you for this reminder, and for being so passionate about something so important.

On a lighter note, congratulations on having your handwriting be turned into a font! SO COOL! And very well deserved, because we all know you have the best handwriting in town! I wanted to send you an email about this, but my computer, which has been in the shop for the past few weeks, does not allow me to send emails anymore! Grrr ... back to the drawing board! Hope to have this situation cleared up soon.