October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And although I refer to myself as a breast cancer survivor, I don’t really feel like one. “Surviving” the cancer was nothing. Abnormal cells grew out of control, and something had to be done about them. It was easy surviving the growth of those cells. That part happened unbeknownst to me.
What wasn’t so easy was enduring a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to ensure all of the cancer had been removed from my body. Yep, I’m more of a chemo and radiation survivor. Oh, and breast reconstruction, too. Those were the ugly, grueling parts of the journey that took about two years of my life. (Not to mention lymphedema, a complication of the removal of a number of my lymph nodes that results in swelling of my right arm and hand. I’ll have this condition the rest of my life.)
No wonder my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team co-captain, Leslie, refers to herself as a “warrior” instead. (The fact that she’s a huge Golden State Warriors fan might also have something to do with it.)
For the past three years, she and I have led a team, Long Live the Girls, in the annual event to increase awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds for more research. Each year, scientists learn new things about the disease and make strides toward a cure. But they couldn’t do it without the help of supporters.
If you’d like to join the cause, we’d love to have you. How can you help? I’m glad you asked. Here are some ways:
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"