On The Road to Breast Cancer Survival
October is always a very challenging month for me. As many of you may already know, I am a stage 4 breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in July of 2006 and have been in remission since January of 2007. I feel blessed to still be cancer-free, and am grateful for all the support I have received and continue to receive along the way.
Things have changed since my initial diagnosis; while treatment is still a big part of my life, breast cancer does not dominate my daily thoughts and activities. I work hard to stay healthy, and do everything in my power to prevent a recurrence, having adopted the attitude that this is a chronic illness, not a fatal one.
I can't say that I'm at the point where a day goes by when I don't think about cancer - I don't know that I will ever be in that place - however, the thoughts become fewer and more distant as time passes.
That is, until October.
Everywhere you turn, you see pink - the official color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don't get me wrong; I am ever so grateful for the support, education, health advancements and closer steps to a cure that all of this awareness brings...in reality, it's helping keep me alive!
The challenge for me is, that while all of these people and organizations are doing double-time to help the cause, it is a constant reminder that I am living with a very aggressive, fatal form of this disease. I think of myself as a strong person - one who has and will continue to be very active in helping other breast cancer patients and survivors. During October, there are times when it is difficult for me to stay strong; sometimes I want to hold my own private pity party! That is so not me!
Breast cancer has touched so many people. If you don't have a friend or family member who is a patient or survivor, I'm sure you know someone who does. What I'm asking you to do during the month of October is be the best friend or relative you can to that person. Treat them like you would treat any best friend or favorite sibling, aunt or cousin. Don't single them out - lift up their spirits. Tell them you love them, just because!
On Sunday morning, October 16th, I will be co-hosting the ABC7 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Montrose Harbor. I will be there to support all my "breast cancer sisters (and brothers!)" at this wonderful event. Let's keep that positive spirit alive during the entire month of October - heck, why not the entire year?!