I remember how it started. I was working in the mailroom/copy center at EDS. I had already been out on a couple deliveries. I was loading up for my next one when I was called back into the courier office to take a phone call. This was back when most cell/car phones were in bags that plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car. I had no idea who would be calling me.
“Hi honey. It’s Mom. Listen, I don’t want you to worry. I just got back from the doctor….” I remember interrupting her and asking what was going on. “I have breast cancer,” she told me. She continued talking but I wasn’t hearing anything. Breast cancer had already taken the life of my grandmother, my mom’s mom. I had heard terrible things about cancer and I distanced myself from her (a decision I regret to this day), because I didn’t want to see her suffer.
“Are you there?” mom asked. I responded, but don’t recall what I said. I hung up the phone and was in a daze. My boss came in and saw me in what must have been some form of shock. I told him what happened and he sent me home immediately. That was how I remember mom’s 10+ year battle with breast cancer started.
Chemo. Radiation. Chemo. Radiation. Remission. Then it was back. More chemo. More Radiation. Remission again. Then it returned again….
It was a very emotional thing to go through for us and we didn’t even have the cancer! I can only imagine what she was going through. She remained strong throughout her battle, enjoying the ups and fighting through the downs. She fought hard for over 10 years before the cancer finally took her from us. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with. Coincidentally, she passed away in October. It will be 12 years this month.
So why I am writing this blog?
Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, it is estimated that over 266,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women, along with almost 64,000 cases of non-invasive cases of breast cancer. At the same time, about 2500 cases of invasive cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in MEN! You read that correctly! Almost 41,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year, while almost 500 men will die from it.
Early detection is KEY! So I am writing to encourage you to do what you can to find it and treat it early! When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the five year relative survival rate is – 100%!!! Early detection includes doing self breast exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. The breast cancer mortality rate decline 39% in the US from 1989-2015 and continues to decline because of early detection and treatment.
Great informational links
Do not wait! Schedule that mammogram. Talk to your doctor if something doesn’t seem right. If you do not know what you are looking for – here is a link that may help:
Here is another link to great information: https://ww5.komen.org/
You can find a breast cancer walk near you at this link:
I am here for you
As my friend, I want you around for a long time! If you are a survivor – I celebrate your victory with you! If you lost someone to this disease – I cry with you. If you are going through treatments for breast cancer – I am hear to support you and cheer you on!
Please spread the word! Share this blog! Share these links! Encourage others to have a breast cancer screening today!
Thinking pink … for mom … who is missed more than I could express in words.