As Breast Cancer Awareness month is here I have to continue to wrap my head around the fact that I am personally included in this month. I am a breast cancer patient: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3 ER/PR+ HER2- to be exact…quite the mouthful. This is how cancer patients identify themselves in the breast cancer community.
I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to take on all the pink. I was never a pink girl before (besides ages 3-11) …more of an ocean water, blue sky, beach glass or blueberry-kind of girl. So to suddenly be dunked in the pink Kool-Aid was a bit of a whirlwind. But finally I decided to embrace it.
Pink became a part of me, pink gave me a new community to be part of, and pink became the sparkly end to this nightmare. Throughout the last five months, I have chosen the power of positivity. I have faith and seek alternative accompaniments to my chemotherapy cocktail. That way I am using support from all angles. The mental state can be one of the hardest because we are constantly feel mistrust to our own bodies since we got cancer. We think every little pain is another form of cancer. We are being sucked in by fear, and have to claw out by hope. It is a doozy. Pink gives us hope. Hope that there may be end in sight.
With October, I love every bit of the awareness month. I hope the football players truly understand as they wear bright pink gloves and socks that they are creating awareness in our ever-growing younger community of breast cancer. I love that our public schools are jumping on the pink bandwagon, often making donations, creating teams for Race for the Cure, creating pink pep rallies and volunteering for other events too, which create awareness. The mammogram bus is on the prowl trying to help women get detected early.
I was a part of Race for the Cure on Sept.24 (yes, a tad early in Austin). As a soon-to-be (or as my fellow pink sisters would say…current) survivor, I never really thought about this race before. Before this October, it was a reason to run and know it helped go toward something good. Now it has an entirely different meaning. I had three friends travel in town to run it with me. From Nevada, Missouri, and Galveston. I donned the pink… the pink leggings, the pink ribbon earrings, “fight like a girl shirt,” pink shoes, even a pink cape to which followed suit with my girls shirts, which read, “Mommy is our superhero.”
I walked the walk, tears fell as emotions rose high, I ran through the pink balloons, high-fived other women facing this same battle, and crossed the finish line, hand-in-hand with my husband. This is like our march to the capital. We are here, we will win, we are the storm! (My heart chants.)
I want women to know that cancer is not going away. I read from a 2015 study that 1 out of every 8 women will get cancer in their lifetime (I wouldn’t be shocked if this statistic eventually became every 1 in 3). And they will not scan you unless you have a family history before 40.
So, what does that mean? That means we as women have to pay attention to our bodies. WE need to know the signs (which are not all lumps). Other signs are: dimpling, inverted nipple, discharge, skin discoloration. We need to be advocates for our own bodies. If there is anything that is slightly off then we need to speak to someone. I am telling you guys — I felt fine before I was diagnosed…so fine I put my order for an ultrasound UNDER a box for an entire MONTH. I am still kicking myself for that. Could that month have been the reason my cancer spread to my lymph nodes?? We’ll never know.
What do we need to know? We know we need to eat healthier…more alkaline diets, we need to cut stress out of our lives, we need to eliminate incredibly acidic, harmful foods from our diets. We NEED to teach our kiddos these things now while they are young, so they make better decisions than we do. That they will live healthier, happier and be blessed more abundantly than we were. Right? Isn’t that what it boils down to? That the most important parenting ‘to do list item’ is to help create a better world for our children. But we can’t rely on anyone else to do that. The reliance needs to fall on us…their parents, their teachers, their relatives, their coaches, their mentors.
So with October I want to recommend you do these things:
- Wear pink…maybe a small pink item each day… fun ways to give back are donning a pink headband from Headbands of Hope (for every headband purchased, one is donated to a little girl with cancer.)
- Buying a pink beanie from Love your Melon, 50% of their proceeds go toward children with cancer
- Lump with Laughter gives back proceeds toward breast cancer patient’s emotional state, physical state and spiritual state along with helping with finances.
- Panera’s Pink Ribbon Bagel will raise money for breast cancer. (Raised $1.3 million in 2011)
- Here are some ways to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year. Here are some awesome breast cancer awareness products for 2017
- Donations are wonderful, but having a servant’s heart and volunteering to help with a cancer patient is where the heart is. There are a lot of appointments, house chores, children’s activities, family finances and which sadly become stressors in the affected family’s lives, help from the community eases this stress tremendously. Know a neighbor, family member or friend of a friend battling cancer? Ask about their care calendar and find ways to give back closer to home.
- As great as Race for the Cure is for research, giant events have to pay for their giant event. If you really want to know where your donation is going, research the event itself. Some go toward helping families pay for medical bills such as:
- The Pink Warrior Dash will be a way for local families to receive the support they so desperately need.
With sorrow, my story is not unique. More and more younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer…23, 26, 32, 37 — it just leaves me enraged. The importance to pay attention to our body and stop ignoring constant pain or random strange things needs to a priority for America.
Cancer is a hurricane bigger than Harvey, bigger than Ike, bigger than Katrina, cancer is bigger than any typhoon or any natural disaster…it is developing stronger and stronger, finding more and more loopholes into our bodies, and it is merciless, it will not stop. We have to stop it.