October is breast cancer awareness month and I am delighted to join the Pink for October initiative. This is a message that is very close to my heart. As I have mentioned before, my mother died when I was 16 years old. What I didn't say was that she had breast cancer -- twice. The first time, she was 29 years-old (my current age) and pregnant with me. She had a mastectomy and luckily didn't require any further treatment. Growing up I always knew that my mom had had cancer, but it didn't seem like a big deal. I wasn't around for it and she obviously survived it, so it wasn't that scary.
Every year she would go in for a mammogram to make sure it didn't come back. Then right before Christmas in 1993, the annual mammogram found a lump in her remaining breast. She had another mastectomy and this time required chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She ultimately lost her battle with cancer one year later on October 7, 1994.
My mother always insisted that I not live my life in fear of cancer. The best we can do is be tested as recommended and then deal with it if it happens.
Anyway, that's my story. Let's look at things you can do to help.
- First of all, if you are over 40 or have a family history please get a mammogram. I've had one done annually since the age of 25 and they aren't that bad.
- Look into this new test that can detect abnormal cells 7 years before a mammogram can. I just found out about this and have to wait 6 months after I stop breast feeding before I can have it done, but I will definitely be there on 6 month plus one day.
- Check out the new Think Pink stamp set from My Favorite Things. They are donating 50% of the retail price to breast cancer research.
- Support my friend, Kim Howard, in her 3-day walk fund-raising effort. My MIL and SIL did the 3-day this August in Boston and it was amazing.
- If you have a blog, go pink and spread the word!