The month of October has reached its 18th day, and I can’t believe I’ve not yet written anything about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In June 2001, one of my very favourite aunts discovered a lump in one of her breasts. You never realise how serious something like cancer is until you’re directly faced with it, whether personally or through family. Well, I just happened to be in New York at the time staying with her, when she informed me that she was going to do a mastectomy. She made it seem like it was a routine thing to do… and she’d be in and out of the hospital in no time.
Surgery day came and I accompanied her mother to the hospital to check her in and get her settled. A couple days later we visited again and all was well; she was to return home the following day. To be honest, this was not how I had envisioned spending my New York vacation – cooking, taking care of my grand-aunt, frequent visits to the hospital to carry various items that my aunt needed… but you know, family is family.
When she finally got home she was a little sore, but moved around easy enough. Could I now ‘touch the road’ and have fun?
One morning at about 6am is when the bleeding began…
I don’t remember if it was the stitches/sutures that had opened, but something was definitely wrong! She was hot and cold at the same time… she was shaking – I called an ambulance and got a neighbour to stay with my grand-aunt. It was the first time I was ever going into an ambulance… worse in New York! And, for the first time ever in my adult life, I was scared.
I wanted to cry, but couldn’t. I wanted to scream but didn’t. I just knew I had to act swiftly, get her to the hospital, because I honestly thought she was going to die.
Perhaps you’re wondering where my story is going, how it’s going to end.
Today, my aunt is in good health – alive and well. She sees what I’m up to via Facebook, which she’s just discovered. We talk, we laugh, we reminisce – she’s even coming to Lizzy’s wedding in April (which she’s really excited about).
My point is this… she’s one of the people, one of the women who made it – who have survived breast cancer.
Maybe she was afraid of dying, maybe she didn’t want me to worry. But never did she give up or lose her faith. The surgery, the scares, the radiation treatments, the NUMEROUS meds – I’ve never seen such courage or strength in a woman!
My friend Mamachel’s blog this month is dedicated to her mum… who didn’t make it.
I feel that facing breast cancer (in whichever way) is a tremendously brave act – whether writing about it, talking about it, living it, surviving it… and I completely support her efforts to bring awareness to the disease. She can’t bring her mother back, but she has memories that can never be erased…
From fitness and meal plans, to doing your routine breast exams… Show your support by checking out her ‘madventures’ in Physically Fit-ish at http://mamachel.wordpress.com/
Every day giving thanks…