As much as I support the concept of science and medical research, and the development of treatments and/or cures to many of the horrific diseases facing our planet, I will admit to feeling a little tired of some of the campaigns to raise awareness of particular causes. Clearly, the years of AIDS awareness has proven beneficial not only in reducing the spread of the disease, but in discovering successful ways of treating those stricken. But AIDS has not touched my life, I can't relate.
Then there's the 'pink'. T-shirts, scarves, bracelets, ribbons, football uniforms, cars, candy, walks, runs, rides and a plethora of other things made 'pink' to remind us that breast cancer is everywhere. Statistics telling me that of the 8 women at my lunch table, at least one of us would encounter breast cancer in our own lives. Sure, I said. It would be awful. But, since two of the women at my table had already dealt with, and thankfully, survived, breast cancer, I was convinced that my odds were minimal. We had supported the numbers, throwing in two for extra measure.
So much for statistics. An 'abnormal' mammogram result turned into a whirlwind of appointments and tests confirming that I had become number 3 at our table. My reaction surprised me. No tears, no anger, no drama. Throughout the process, I found myself most worried before the results of my biopsy were available. Once told that the results confirmed my left breast was in a pre-cancerous state, and that my right contained clear cancer, I was calm and very ready to proceed.
My appreciation for the professionals and services available in my community has skyrocketed. Surgery took place less than three weeks after diagnosis. Reported at 7:30am, home before 3pm. Not even a full day's work. My surgeon expressed unwavering confidence that she 'got it all', and pathology confirmed that. My oncologist currently awaits test results to determine whether I am likely to experience a recurrence, and if chemo would reduce or eliminate that chance. I am scheduled for 22 sessions of radiation therapy. I'll spend five years taking a drug that will starve those pesky cells of the estrogen they feed on, causing them (theoretically) to shrivel and die so that I won't.
I'm pretty lucky. Breast cancer is an awful disease. I've known women who've died as a result of its invasion into their lives. And there are thousands more who are fighting. Reluctantly, I confess to being one of them. Yet, something prevents me from feeling afraid. The confidence of the medical professionals treating me is a large part of that. Support from those who've been through it puts a face on my future. The knowledge that thousands upon thousands of people participate in activities to raise funds ensuring continued research to find a cure for me. Me. They're all doing it for me. And every breast cancer fighter has the right to say the same thing.
So for all of you who have ever ran or walked. Bought a pink frosted donut. Worn a pink shirt or tie, or ribbon. Who notice women wearing scarves to cover their balding head. Who are motivated by mothers, sisters and friends who have faced this disease. Thank you. Thank you for fighting for me.
I find myself developing a deep fondness for all things pink.