Saturday, October 19, 2013

Check Your Boobs

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, but I'm having a hard time organizing it. So I'm just gonna ramble, okay?


My mom is a breast cancer survivor.
My aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My great aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from high school is a breast cancer survivor.

My co-worker is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from college lost her battle with breast cancer.

In other words, I have been personally touched by breast cancer.

If you must know, I have had unexpected changes in my own breasts, so due to that plus my family history, have been getting regular mammograms since the age of 27.

Breast cancer, all cancer really, is a subject I take very seriously. Dude, cancer kills.

I've seen a lot of talk this year about pink. Everywhere. And there is, for some, a disdain for the pink.

Here's my take on the pink.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, yes, I wore some pink. For some reason I wore more after she hit her 5-year-clear mark. I can't tell you why. I don't know. All I know is that it has to do with my processing of her disease.

My mom has never worn a pink ribbon. Ever. It's not something she feels compelled to do. Though she hasn't said it, I think it has something to do with not wanting to be defined by the cancer.

I think sometimes, for some people - and by "people" I mean those personally affected by the disease - being able to outwardly show support for patients, survivors, and victims is part of the healing process. It's part of their need to process what is happening to them or to someone they love.

I also think, that if for one month of the year, if putting pink on everything gets just one person to perform a breast self-exam, or if it gets just one person to think "maybe I should schedule that mammogram I've been putting off"... if blasting the world with pink results in just one life being saved... then how can I have distaste for that?

My friend, Julie, died at the age of 33 after a years-long battle with breast cancer. THIRTY FREAKIN' THREE.

Julie, as I remember her, in our college years and full of life (source)

Here's the thing: Julie found her lump because the news was doing a thing on breast cancer and self-exams. She had no family history of the disease. She was healthy & in her late 20s. But she checked on a whim because a news program was doing a thing on self-exams.

So I know that people check their breasts because of things like news programs, or seeing a sign, or maybe even seeing the world splashed in pink.

So blast the world in pink. I don't even care if companies make money off the pink (as long as they're not misleading consumers). But show the pink. Wear the pink. But more importantly... check your boobs.

33 years old. I know for a fact that there are young women out there who did their first self-breast exam because of Julie's story. You see, Julie was very public about her battle with breast cancer. Like, go-on-the-local-news, tell-anyone-she-sees public. And because of her openness and candor about her disease, there are women who did their first breast self-exam because of her story.

33 years old.

Don't let Julie's death be in vain. I don't care how young you are, I don't care whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer, I don't even care if you're a man. Check your boobs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a good cry over the loss of my friend, and then to feel myself up.

Here's hoping you're doing the same.

1 comment:

Estes Family Blog said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! Losing anyone to cancer is hard. My mom battled thyroid cancer several times, she beat it every time. Her heart is what took her at the young age of 49! I went thru ovarian and uteran cancer. It's hard to go thru for many reasons. I hope you are able to reach more women than either of us could imagine.

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