Friday, October 15, 2010

October - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Five years later, I’m still surprised when someone asks me about my breast cancer. It’s as if I need to pause for a moment and ask myself, did I really have breast cancer? In truth, compared to the grief and sadness I felt from Michael’s death, the cancer, surgeries and treatment weren’t that bad. Even with the SIOD prognosis, it was still unbelievable what happened to Michael. I think a part of me hopes to wake up one morning and find out it wasn’t real. I guess, the same could be true for my breast cancer.

Every cancer patient has a story. It leads them to a vast array of choices and decisions regarding treatment, both physical and emotional. For me, with my family history, having a bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy was a must. Then a couple of surgeries after that insured the best possible outcome with the BRCA2 gene present in my DNA. The breast cancer was removed ASAP, the risk of other cancer addressed and I have been cancer free since 2005.

My decisions regarding cancer treatment didn’t come lightly. It included multiple medical consultations, lengthy conversations with breast cancer survivors, books, articles, internet research and countless hours of prayer, which led me to informed choices with spiritual guidance. My life story definitely dictated my choices but along with that was a spiritual triangle of grace. There I knew the choices I was making were right for me.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I stand among thousands who are also surprised that they have breast cancer. I encourage you to offer them support, love and respect in the choices they make based on their life story. Assumptions and judgments, often made, are a naive mistake. Be the Change lends its support by representing the patient perspective in honor of every person living with breast cancer as a part of their story. Also, in memory of those whose story includes grief of a loved one who has died from breast cancer, Be the Change embraces you.

My breast cancer prognosis is simple. “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”, found in 1Corinthians 14:13. I choose to live my life by those three categories, refusing to be defined by any medical diagnosis. Find your way to be defined when you dare to Be the Change.

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