It's October, so it's Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you haven't felt like you've been living in a Pepto Bismol bottle for the last few weeks, you must be living under a rock.
It's the month where we want women to be aware to do monthly breast exams, schedule mammograms, and make sure you know Breast Cancer, the big bad monsters, is lying in wait to get you.
No..... not really, that wouldn't make for a very good marketing campaign, and it wouldn't fit on an NFL sweatband for the players, or on the back of a new pink spatula that sports a pink ribbon.
I will probably be able to extend these same sentiments in April when we are put through Autism Awareness month.
It's not that I'm not grateful to be alive or anything like that. But honestly, all of us survivors of Breast Cancer are painfully aware of breast cancer—every shower I take, and am looking at all the scars I have, the implants, the tattoos, the fear of thinking there is a stray cancer cell somewhere in my body waiting to attack anywhere at anytime. Yes, I am aware, and no matter how pink you want to paint the world, it doesn't do much for us but bring pain. Pain and fear to our husbands and family that the cancer isn't over, and it's coming back, and maybe you didn't beat it. It's not something anyone would ever say to me, but I see it in everyone's eyes when they look at me, and other survivors say the same thing. I'm tired of people looking at me like I'm a suicide bomber with a bomb strapped to my waist.
Instead of making everyone aware, please let's put Action into place where Awareness is and make it Breast Cancer Action Month. Because Awareness is ticking me off. There is not a person in Mission Viejo (or most places) that isn't or hasn't been affected by breast cancer. Who doesn't have a co-worker, friend, relative, mom, cousin, aunt or uncle, sister or wife that doesn't have it or hasn't had it? Everyone is aware!
Let's look at some of the actions we can take to prevent and cure this bitch of a disease. I wish Breast Cancer would just get Cancer!
Early detection is key! Get your flipping mammograms!
Family members and friends, make each other do it. Go together, do something, but every women over 40 needs to start getting them, and do not let anyone talk you out of it. You don't have to feel anything. I didn't feel a lump and I had cancer!
Take care of yourself! Eat healthy and clean, lose weight, exercise. Do not stress. I think that stress is a horrible detriment to your body. Do not stres the small stuff. If you're overweight and overwhelmed, commit to 20 minutes a day, just move for 20 minutes, and once a week remove one unhealthy thing you do and add one healthy thing to your repertoire.
Buying a pink watch, or pink spatula, or a ribbon shirt, is not armor from getting breast cancer. There is still action that needs to be taken on every woman's part. Please take the action to detect and prevent breast cancer in its early stages.
I was lucky and fortunate enough to detect my cancer in an early stage. We surgically attacked it in the most aggressive fashion, and I have been cancer-free for close to 3 years. It still boggles my mind how it all happened. It's a whirlwind and I still have that monster in the back of my mind that it's always going to come back and get me. I love my family and my life, and that everyone came to my aid and stood around me to protect and defend my kids and husband from the war that was being waged in the operating rooms and doctors offices.
My family and my friends were better than anyone could ever have expected, and more than I ever deserved. I feel everyday grateful for everyone in my life at that time. I was able to suction everyone's strength and postive energy and kick cancer's ass.
There are things about Breast Cancer Action Month that I do love. Breast Cancer scared the crap out of me, and forced me to get and stay healthy. While I was recovering, I got on the path of health and fitness, and took control of something in my life and started exercising 20 minutes a day. It was manageble, and not overwhelming. I removed something unhealthy from my life every week, and added something healthy. After 1 year and 6 months I ran my first 5K, then a 10K, and 2 years cancer free I ran a half marathon, and then last month another.
The biggest thing I could do to no longer be a cancer survivor is to stop taking care of myself. So after my last half marathon, I got lazy, complacent, and cocky and pretty much took my old, fat unhealthy self out of the cage, gained 20 lbs. and stopped running like I was, and being a sloth. How disrespectful to myself, my kids, my husband, my family and everyone that did anything to help me beat the beast!
So as I was forced into awareness this month by the Pinkness around me, it did at least give me the slap in the back of the head like my old Italian grandmother and say "What's the matta with you??"
So when I'm trotting slowly around Lake Mission Viejo again this week, please be aware that I'm getting into action to remain a breast cancer survivor.