Ramblings of a Middle Age Woman – Purple Day

May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th. It’s going to be one of my favorite days.

Yes you heard me right. Why? Because it’s my purple day.

No, purple day is not remembering Prince (even though we did talk about doing that at work). Purple day is what I call the Relay for Life Event that I participate in every year. I’ll wear my purple shirt to work and then will go walk in the survivor lap.

What is Relay for Life? I’m so glad you asked!! (I know you did I heard you.)

relay for life

Relay for Life is an event that is held in communities in over 20 countries. While there are wonderful organizations that help with specific cancers (like Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer), The American Cancer Society helps all cancers and Relay for Life is one of their big fundraising events.

What’s so awesome about Relay for Life is that it honors those who have lost their fight with cancer and celebrates those that are survivors and supports those who are still fighting. If you’ve never been to an event, take time to go. It doesn’t matter if you do not know someone fighting cancer or have not lost a loved once to cancer. After the opening ceremony, survivors are called out individually to receive a medal and line up for the survivor walk. This part of the event is always emotional because when you see the ones receiving their medals you get the picture that cancer does not care how old you are, what race you are, what gender you are, what size you are. Cancer does not discriminate.

If you think that cancer would not dare to strike one of your kids, let me introduce you to the five year old whose dad carries him to the stage to get his medal. This is his second year. Or if you say you have no history of cancer in your family so you don’t have to worry, let me introduce you to the mother who is a five year survivor and her daughter who is currently going through cancer treatments. They had no history of cancer in their families either. Maybe you think because you are a young woman in the prime of her life thinking of having another child that you don’t have to worry about cancer. Let me introduce you to the woman who was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer who has two young children. Because of the gene she carries, she also had to have a hysterectomy so she will not be having any more kids. For every excuse you have of why you think you don’t have to worry about cancer, I can introduce you to someone who use to think the same as you.

Honestly, if you sit there and say that you don’t know of anyone in your family or your circle of friends that have fought cancer or who had family members that fought or died from cancer, then you my friend are in the minority. My mother is a 20+ year survivor, my grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer, I had chemo treatments with the woman that lived across the street from me who later lost her life to breast cancer, my first doo rags were given to me by a woman at church who had been diagnosed the year before me, the friends who shaved my head after my hair starting falling out all had family members that had fought cancer or passed away from cancer, co workers I work with now have had family members or loved ones that have fought cancer or lost their fight with cancer. I could go on. The American Cancer Society says that in 2016, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US.

That’s way too many. One is too many.

So if you hear of a Relay for Life event, fundraiser, or walk then think about taking part. Every little bit helps.

And if you see someone wearing a Relay for Life survivor shirt, give them a hug and a pat on the back. They deserve it.

releasing of the doves

God Bless

 

JOKES ABOUT BREAST CANCER

About this time every year the crude comments about breast cancer start. There’s one post going around that I know of that is declaring some day in October as “Go Without a Bra” day in support of breast cancer. Sometimes even “Save the Ta Ta’s” can rub me the wrong way. Because it shouldn’t be about saving the “ta ta’s”, it should be about saving a life. You don’t see shirts or bumper stickers or posts about “Saving the Colon” or “Save the Liver”, or “Save the Prostrate”. Some people want to treat Breast Cancer Awareness month like juvenile kids and that can really get on my nerves.

Part of it is because I had to have a double mastectomy to save my life. I didn’t choose to have. I had to have. Not only was one breast full of pre cancerous material so that it was only a matter of time before I fought breast cancer again, but I am Brca2 positive so was at an increased risk of developing breast cancer in the other breast. Even with the double mastectomy, I still have a small chance of having recurring breast cancer because they cannot remove 100% of the tissue. Not only that, but of course there is the chance of having the cancer metastasize elsewhere in the body.

I did choose to have reconstruction after my double, but you know, doctors aren’t gods, even though some try to be. When there are issues with your muscles that no one could foresee then you have problems. And those problems require more surgery which with being single with a single income and high insurance deductibles, I’m just now finishing paying off for the two years of surgeries I had to have in the first place. Because of my problems with the reconstruction, I am very self conscious about my appearance.

The other reason why I have problems with breast cancer jokes is because I lost a friend of mine to breast cancer the year after I was diagnosed. In October of all months. She had fought it a year longer than me and she was a year younger than me. When people come up with these jokes, I don’t think they realize how cruel they can be to someone that has had breast cancer or to someone who has lost a loved one to breast cancer.

Honestly, no cancer is a laughing matter and shouldn’t be treated as one. The more you joke about a cancer, the more people stop taking it seriously. So get serious about Breast Cancer Awareness this month. You just might help save a life – and it might be yours.

#fightbackagainstbreastcancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My goal for this October is to post several stories about my fight with breast cancer. I dedicate all of these posts to those that have lost their fight to BC, those who are still fighting, and the ones who are now cancer free. We are survivors!

In the summer of 2008, just a couple months after I had started my chemo and had lost my hair, this comment was made to me: “Well, if you had to get cancer at least you got one that was curable.” That comment has stayed with me and caused me to be angry for seven years. This October I’m letting go of that anger but I want to educate people on the reality of breast cancer. It is NOT curable. Cancer free is what we are, but like other cancers, you live with the knowledge that there is possibly a cancer cell somewhere in your body laying dormant waiting for the opportunity to wake up and grow. The difference between you and someone who hasn’t had cancer? You know the hell on earth you went through to become and remain cancer free. So every year you celebrate the fact that God brought you through and you morn those who have lost their lives to cancer.

We do not ever need to become complacent about breast cancer or any type of cancer until it really is wiped out. Lung cancer and breast cancer are the two top killers of women and this needs to stop! So this October support pink and breast cancer awareness. Go get your mammograms done and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Let’s band together and fight back against breast cancer!

#supportpink #breastcancer #wipeoutbreastcancer #survivor