If you don’t know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month you’ve either just not been paying attention or you’ve just not been paying attention. Everywhere I look these days, I see pink as, thankfully, these days Breast Cancer Awareness is at the forefront of our media.
Here in Nashville, last night the Grand Ole Opry even went pink. As I watched the news, they showed the video screen on the Opry stage as it listed survivors and those that had sadly lost their lives to breast cancer. I recognized one name.
Earlier this year, a friend — a fellow “musician’s widow” — was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she has been undergoing treatments for it.
I can’t begin to say how much I’ve admired her as she has gone through every hurdle placed in her path. She has only one more round of chemotherapy to go, thankfully. She’s been through a lot, but through it all she’s had a smile on her face, a loving husband by her side, and a million friends standing by to help her (and a million more silent admirers). She is without a doubt one of the strongest women I am blessed to know.
No one should ever have to go through all she’s been through, but, sadly, according to the American Cancer Society, over 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2009. That number is far too high.
I still remember when I was in high school, I was among a group of four or five girls sitting in a circle waiting for the bell to ring to change classes. Somehow the topic of breast cancer and self examination came up, and one of the girls went, “You know… statistically, one of us sitting here will get breast cancer.”
She has no idea how that statement impacted me in that moment. It really rocked me back on my heels. It was the first time I really gave breast cancer much thought.
Fast forward about five or six years to when I worked at a newspaper in Texas. I covered the town’s Relay for Life and I quickly got caught up in the excitement and passion behind the event.
“It was like a punch in the stomach. It takes your breath away,” Karen Meyer said as she spoke about her battle with cancer to a small group of men and woman who met to plan the upcoming ‘Relay for Life’, an overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of American Cancer Society. (Excerpt from another article about the event.)
My hat’s off to the men and women of the American Cancer Society who do so much for those diagnosed with all forms of cancer, and for their families.
Today, I’m finding there is more and more appreciation, respect and attention given to breast cancer and those diagnosed with it. Tonight, when a friend, Sarcastic Mom, Twittered about Boobie-Thon, I had to investigate (and ultimately participate.)
Much like Sarcastic Mom’s Bewb Fest, I discovered a respectful celebration of “boobies” in general. Let’s face it, part of the hurt and pain of breast cancer is the removal of a woman’s breasts. We might not admit it in general, but many women get a lot of confidence and pride from their breasts. I’ll say it right here and now (just this once — haha) that I know I do!
From the Boobie-Thon site, though, I found myself linked to countless wonderful sites focusing on breast cancer awareness. Independent sites focused on bringing breast cancer to the forefront in an almost paradoxical manner of celebration. Let’s celebrate women and the breasts, but lets also be aware of how many women fight breast cancer. Money raised towards research helps to eventually eradicate it, and the lessons towards detecting it early helps to lower the mortality rate.
To end this blog, I will leave you with some of those links I found. Remember, ladies, to love your boobies. Check yourself regularly. Get yearly mammograms. Give love and support to those dealing with the challenge of breast cancer, both the women and their families… help them all get through the challenge and remember that they are FABULOUS and AMAZING.
We ALL are.