By the end of this week we will be in the full swing of pink. As most people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For 31 days, businesses and football players and marathon streets are decked out in bright pink.
More and more the month of October elicits a lot of emotion surrounding loss and victory. Breast cancer battles continue hitting closer and closer to home.
My maternal grandmother had issues with it. My aunt is currently battling breast cancer. Many of my friends have had loved ones affected by breast cancer in one way or another.
A little more than a year ago, my mom had a mastectomy on her left breast after being diagnosed at stage 0 for breast cancer. We were so grateful to have caught it early enough to not need radiation or chemotherapy. We had to make a decision within weeks of finding out the news regarding mom’s health. It was still a major decision to do a mastectomy instead of lumpectomy. It altered our lives. It changed the way we think about health and care for our bodies. It changed us.
There have been many hours in doctor offices and hospital rooms. We have done several surgeries and recoveries, hoping that it’s the last time we will ever need to discuss this with a physician or cancer center. But we never will stop talking about it. It is part of us now and will forever be a present topic in future check-ups.
When that word cancer comes alive, even if it’s a scare or not worst case scenario, it is paralyzing.
In that same summer of my mom’s diagnosis, my sister’s did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I went out to support them at different mile markers over the two day walk. It was powerful to see how many lives breast cancer touches. People are weakened by it, strengthened by it and every stop between. No one can tell you how to feel or what to feel. We all react differently and that’s okay.
A few years ago, I went to a breast cancer support group hosted by Bright Pink. Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
The support group was a chance to ask questions and share stories with young women who had either known someone with these cancers or had themselves gone through it. We bonded over doing an activity together. It was my first and last time ever doing a spin class after I threw up all over the floor following the workout. (That’s a story for another day.) It was an inspiring and eye opening experience to sit and share our stories, encouraging one another in awareness, prevention and treatment.
Now over a year later from our first set of doctor visits for my mom, we are taking breast cancer awareness Octobers rather seriously. We are also celebrating this life. To be aware, is to be alive…literally in some cases.