MORE THAN PINK | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

So, yesterday was October 1st.  The beginning of one of my favorite months of the year.  Between the weather changing, the coziness of the fall season, Halloween movies, and just general spookiness, I have always loved October!  However, the month of October is also special because it is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM).  I’ve always been a supporter of BCAM because of the loved ones in my life who have faced Breast Cancer… but this year, it’s a little more personal to me since I am now a BC “thriver” (not really sure how I feel about that term but I don’t deem myself a survivor just yet!)

Before I get started, I want to preface this blog post by saying I genuinely appreciate each and every person who takes the time to acknowledge BCAM and all of its survivors, thrivers, previvors, and co-survivors.  There are few things better than human beings coming together for a good cause/reason/purpose/etc.

With that being said, I want you to know something…

Breast Cancer is MORE THAN PINK.

I’m pretty sure all of my survivors, thrivers and previvors out there can attest to this statement.  Sure, the ribbons, the tutus, the socks, the shirts, the pins, the bits and the bobbles are all wonderful and great… but I feel as though it is my duty to inform all of you exactly what you should be aware of—because I would hope that we’re all very much aware of what Breast Cancer is by now.

Having Breast Cancer is a lot more than you might think.  And for me, it’s A LOT more than what I expected to have to deal with in my twenties, let me tell you that.  In my case, I had a taste of what BC was like before I was diagnosed because I watched my mother go through it.  What I am going through now is something I never really anticipated for myself because before my own diagnosis, I had no idea what BC truly is.

Breast Cancer is going from this…

 

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to this…

 

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in a matter of months, involuntarily.  It’s mustering up every ounce of courage you have inside of you because you know that everything that is to come is completely out of your control, and yet… you must deal with it.

Breast Cancer is going through chemotherapy.  oOoOo SpOoKy!  I know.  Maybe I should just dress up as a bag of chemotherapy for Halloween and really scare the sh*t out of the kids.  But really, chemo is not for the faint of heart.  Both literally and figuratively.  Yeah, chemo sucks and you lose your hair and stuff… but you should know that chemo doesn’t always mean hanging over your toilet throwing up your guts.

Actually, nowadays, vomiting is something that shouldn’t happen because your oncologist gives you medicine(s) to prevent that—Wow! Science!  That’s not to say it doesn’t happen at all, but the stereotype of those undergoing chemo is not very accurate.  We’re still pretty normal except the whole low white blood cell thing (which is the real problem).

This is me at chemo.  This is me with the infamous chemo pole.  This is me after I just peed and asked my fiancé to take my picture.  This is me wearing my halo wig for the first time at chemo, feeling ~fancy~.  This is me internally wishing he was taking my picture as a healthcare professional and not the patient.  This is me wondering if I looked “sickly” and “like a cancer patient” while taking this photo. (News flash, Taylor, you ARE a cancer patient lol)

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I want you to know what you’re advocating for.  I want you to know what you’re supporting and why.  I want you to be educated on a such a prevalent disease that can become a part of your life, either as the patient or as the co-survivor.

Yes, self-exams are so unbelievably important.  That is how I found my cancer.  I am not special in any way; I do not have magic cancer-detecting hands.  You should be doing this every month.  And let me stress this to you, ladies: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE 40+ TO GET BREAST CANCER OR PREVENTATIVE TREATMENTagain—YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE 40+ TO GET BREAST CANCER OR PREVENTATIVE TREATMENT!

If you find ANYTHING AT ALL that seems suspicious to YOU and YOUR body, CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.  I found my lump on Easter Sunday (April 1st) and I called my gynecologist on MONDAY MORNING.  I was diagnosed on April 20th.  That is 19 days later.  DO NOT WAIT.  Do not be “too afraid” of “knowing”—trust me, you’ll be much more afraid if you wait and then you’re diagnosed with late-stage BC and that’s just the truth.

With that said, Breast Cancer is also more than giant lumps in your breasts.  For us young ladies especially, we have dense breast tissue.  This means that a lot of the time, our cancerous lumps/masses are not detected on a traditional mammogram.  You must advocate for a 3D mammogram—even if your doctor fights you on it. And an ultrasound.  If you have a family history or just a straight up gut-feeling that something isn’t right, advocate for yourself.  YOU are your ONLY advocate!

So, I hope you got my point.  I could go on and on and on about the ins and outs of Breast Cancer and all of the different kinds, all of the different treatments, and blah blah blah… but in honor of BCAM, I challenge YOU to pick up your nifty pink highlighter and go to PubMed, find yourself some articles on BC research, print them out, and get to work.  Know the facts.  Know what BC is—beyond the pink ribbons.

Thank you all for your support and I hope you have an awesome October.

Love, Taylor

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “MORE THAN PINK | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  1. Sarah V.

    I found my lump on 9/28/17, then I was in my gyne’s office on 10/1, biopsy on 10/2 and diagnosed officially on 10/5..all within a week, it was hard to wrap my head around but cancer free now, yay!

    also, you are a “survivor” as soon as you are diagnosed. You got this girlfriend, you’re almost there!!!

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    1. taylor + tell Post author

      Yes, it all happens so fast! Well, in some cases. So happy you’re cancer free now! I pray that it remains that way for you from now till forever!

      and yes, I guess you are considered a “survivor” at the time of diagnosis, but for me personally, I just see it differently 🙂

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  2. Judy

    You are beautiful Taylor. My daughter looks just like you right now…..beautiful inside and out! Love reading your blog. Helps me to understand better what my daughter is feeling. Stay strong. Gad bless you!

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    1. taylor + tell Post author

      Thank you, Judy! I’m so glad you’re enjoying and learning from my blog 🙂 strength & healing to your daughter!

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  3. Brenda Smatlak

    I respect you and adore you so much Taylor!!!
    You say in your blogs exactly what I’ve been wanting to say for the past year. I was diagnosed with BC last oct 6th. I have been through the surgeries, chemo, radiation and am now trying to get my strength and “life” back.
    I also watched my mother and sister go thru BC and am also a hospice nurse, so thought that I was well versed in “this breast cancer stuff”. Was I wrong!!! Chemo knocked me on my butt and humbled me more than I care to admit.
    I, like you, have a strong faith and a great support system, and by the grace of God, I did get through it. One of the good things about going through this is that now I can identify with my patients on a different level than I could before. It’s one thing to “know all about BC”. It’s quite another to go thru the drudgery of having it.
    I LOVE your “THRIVING” breast cancer description of yourself. I do not consider myself a survivor yet since I’ve just gotten through the process of treating my cancer. But a breast cancer Thriver!!!! That is exactly the word that I’ve been searching for!!! THANK YOU!
    I look forward to reading your blogs. I often thought about doing a blog, even a journal, through my time as a “patient” but didn’t do it. I am so glad that you are able to write this blog and tell the world all that the rest of us wanted to tell.
    Keep on keeping on as I tell so many of my fellow cancer “thrivers”. One day life will be “normal” again.
    Hugs and admiration to you
    Brenda in Punxsutawney, Pa( almost your neighbor! ha)

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    1. taylor + tell Post author

      Wow, thanks so much, Brenda! I’m so happy you can resonate with what I’m saying and feeling. It’s true—nothing can prepare you for cancer until you are actually going through it! What a gift it is to be able to connect with your patients on a different level because of your journey; a real blessing from God. Keep on thriving! xo

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  4. Tara

    Taylor I love this blog, your courage, your heart, your vulnerability, your authenticity and your fight! Sending you love, strength, courage and fight!! 💞💕😂

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