Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Every October means a month of seeing pink ribbons and all things Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year it takes me back to the summer before my senior year of high school when my mom was 45 and diagnosed with what every woman fears: breast cancer. My “all about me” summer became all about her, her surgery and her recovery. When you’re 17 and think the world revolves around you, discovering that your mom and best friend is immortal kind of ruins your plans. 

When Breast Cancer Awareness Month Hits Close to Home | East Valley Moms Blog

We have a history of breast cancer in our family. My mom’s mom’s sister died from it. They’ve kept a careful watch on me over the years and when I went in for my first prenatal check-up when I was pregnant with my second baby, my ob/gyn found a spot. That one turned out to be nothing but when I went in to have it checked out, they found another spot they were concerned about so I went to a breast surgeon. The first biopsy wasn’t conclusive enough so I set out to wean my son so they could do a deeper biopsy. I’ll never forget standing at the receptionist’s desk with my pregnant belly before I went it for the second biopsy. “You’re pregnant??” she asked. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember thinking, “This just isn’t right.” Thank God it turned out to be nothing abnormal.

I also remember after the biopsy my sister-in-law asking me, “Were you worried??” I honestly wasn’t, partly because I was by my mom’s side as she went through it and saw how people rallied around her and prayed her through. During her recovery, I was mad at God for a while until a day at the beach when I found a rose on the sand and had the very distinct feeling that everything was going to be OK. Seeing her journey firsthand and how the experience actually made our family stronger meant I knew I could face whatever was coming for me, too. 

When it circulates around Facebook for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to post something cryptic as your status and then message a bunch of women to tell them what it means–all in the name of breast cancer awareness–I always post the same thing: “I’m not participating in any gimmicks circulating this month. I’m just telling you TAKE CARE of yourself and GET CHECKED OUT.” Of course early detection is the key. My mom’s was caught early and after a mastectomy, she’s never had an issue since. In fact she’s one of the healthiest people I know. My aunt and grandmother are both thriving, too, and have had no issues.

The last time I had a mammogram, I was in and out in about an hour and they told me my results before I even changed clothes! It was clear by the way. Of course it’s stressful and waiting for the results is excruciating but we have to remind ourselves that our people need us and they need us to be healthy. No one ever wished they’d waited longer to go to the doctor. In fact my mom was recently tested for the BRCA (breast cancer gene) mutation and doesn’t carry it. Now that I have a daughter it’s important for me to know my risks and I take my health very seriously. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be tested. 

As a final thought, not everyone who goes through breast cancer wants to wear the pink paraphernalia and tell their story. Some want to just get through it and put it behind them. For some it’s a very personal journey and as their friends and loved ones, we have to be OK with that.

Taking care of our breasts is part of taking care of ourselves as wives, moms and women. If you haven’t been checked within the recommended time frame for your age, please get checked. October is the perfect time to do it. Maybe even make it an annual event and treat yourself to a yummy fall treat afterward.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here