October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Some times we definitely have to say “Breast Cancer Don’t OWN me!”
We are not what happens to us or in us. We are the strength it runs from.
Let’s a take a trip down your imagination.
Imagine a woman who’s 38 years old and happily married with two kids. One day she decides to examine herself and find a lump. She goes about her day thinking that it’s nothing. It can’t be anything serious, right?
Imagine that same woman finally going to the doctor two months later. The doctor does some diagnostic testing and they find out that she has invasive ductal carcinoma and it’s stage three. They tell her that they need to treat it aggressively. Now she is terrified thinking all of the what if’s.
Imagine going home to tell her husband that she has breast cancer only to be met with divorce papers. Then he says that he’s taking the kids. She still hasn’t told him she has cancer. Imagine the tear drenched sheets as she cries herself to sleep trying to figure out a way to tell her husband that she has cancer. How will she tell the kids?
Imagine finally getting up the courage to tell him that she has breast cancer and he just weeps. He is still her husband so he holds her as she finally breaks. He decides to rip the divorce papers. She hyperventilate on the thought of telling her eleven year old son and ten year old daughter. Will she make it through?
Imagine everyone knowing and she and her husband are back at the doctor’s office. They tell her that her cancer has metastasized to her lymph nodes and she is triple negative for horomone treatments (meaning she cannot receive any estrogen, progesterone, or herceptin hormonal treatment). What now?
The team of doctors schedule her for a double mastectomy and chemotherapy (33 rounds). Later, she finally goes into surgery and comes out fine. That scar will last a lifetime. Something’s wrong!
Her family does not have funds to cover travel or treatment. She doesn’t know any support groups. This is going to put a damper on their finances. What now?
Now, you lean on those closest to you. Know that breast cancer is what happened to you but it is not who you are. Know that we are all there to build you up. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t lay out some resources.
Angel Flight America (Free flights for patients)
Breast Cancer Resource Committee
Cancer Liaison Program
Corporate Angel Network (Free flights for patients)
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Look Good… Feel Better (Help women’s appearance during/after cancer)
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
National Lymphedema Network
Patient Access Network Foundation (Financial Support)
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Sisters Network (Support for African American Women)