Here we are…
Today is October 2, 2019 and it feels surreal that it was (just about) a year ago that I was writing my previous Breast Cancer Awareness Month post. This time last year, I hadn’t even finished my chemo treatments yet and that, to me, is pretty crazy to think about; it’s a total whirlwind of emotions to reflect on all that I’ve been through and overcome in such a short amount of time.Time is so relative. A year can seem so short or so dreadfully long, depending on the circumstances. If someone told me prior to April 20, 2018 that I was about to endure a year’s worth of cancer treatments and surgeries, I probably would have lost my mind anticipating what was to come. I suppose that’s why God wants us to focus on the present day because He knows that we cannot handle the future if He revealed it to us. Anyway, because I had no idea what was about to happen and I endured everything as it came to me, it seems like the year has completely flown by! I mean, so much has happened already and I’m not even a year out.
If you know me, or know of me, you may have seen me go through changes over the course of my cancer journey, mostly physical. I’ve lost my hair, it’s growing back, I got extensions, my eyebrows and lashes came back, I put on a little weight, my color is back… to you, I may look pretty normal. Almost as if nothing ever happened, right? Of course, I am overwhelmingly thankful for how far I have come and the mountains that the Lord has moved for me… but truthfully, this transitional time in my life is slightly more difficult than the cancer itself.
The fear of recurrence haunts me. If you are a survivor, I’m sure you can relate to those fears. As life continues on and the further out I get from my original diagnosis, it gets easier and harder all at the same time. Some days, I’m afraid to make plans because I fear that I will jinx myself and not be able to carry out those plans because I’ll die beforehand. Other days, I’m pretty confident that there is a plan for me and that I will be able to see old age.
…Then there are the days where I find out that another woman (or man) has passed away from Stage IV breast cancer. Those days are some of the hardest and most frustrating, heartbreaking days of all. It doesn’t make any sense to me that men and women are still dying from this disease, or cancer in general. It’s completely mind-blowing that we can make such major strides in technology to the point that our cell phones can literally detect our faces or have three cameras and we can communicate with a machine… but we can’t figure out a way to prevent metastatic disease. Hey Alexa, how many women in the U.S. are projected to die from breast cancer in 2019? — About 41,760.
As I’ve mentioned, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is what I need you to know: you should already be fully aware of what breast cancer is, the prevalence of the disease today, and the lack of a cure and need for, you guessed it: research.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of BCAM because it’s kind of irrelevant if the general human population is already aware and yet, we still don’t have the answers/solutions that we need to eradicate the disease. I’m sorry to say it, as many other survivors have before, it doesn’t matter if you purchase pink shirts, socks, bagels, hats, or any other pink trinket, if it’s not truly going towards an organization that is diligent in working towards a cure and/or definitive solution.
In my opinion, we can research until we’re blue (read: pink lol) in the face, but none of it matters if we still don’t have the answers. On the other hand, I will admit that medicine has made many, many strides in treatment options and availability, but it’s still not good enough and that’s the truth. I don’t want just merely an option that may or may not work; I want optimization. We all do.
Before you “Think Pink” this month, please think logically instead. Think about those you know that have gone through the actual disease and what we can do besides buy a couple of t-shirts and ribbons every October. Instead of spreading awareness about the disease itself, let’s spread awareness of what it’s going to take to eradicate it once and for all.
I am thankful and grateful for the treatment that I am so privileged and blessed to receive. I am thankful for the amazing medical team that I was given. I am thankful for the strides that I have made individually as a person and a survivor. There are many others who were not, or are not, as fortunate and that could also be me one day, too—and that’s where change needs to happen.
Have a great October and take some time to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished.