Going Beyond the Pink Ribbon - A HJWC Member Perspective

1 in 8 American women will end up with breast cancer.

40,000 a year will die.

This October, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to share one of our member's perspectives on the topic. If you take anything away from the following, please get checked and please advocate for your friends and family to get checked.

HJWC Member Perspective

I have a story to tell. I was diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

October is not just about wearing pink and “Saving the Tatas or the pub crawls and cute Facebook posts. That just isn’t it, sit down, please, you’ll need to hear why…

The American Cancer Society recommends that women get annual mammograms starting at age 40, so in April, I went in for my first ever mammogram.

I was 42 and a mom of three, when I first heard the radiologist say "cancer" and my name in the same sentence. You will never forget that moment, life stops for a second. For me, it happened this year, May 5th, 2021. Within seconds of my initial diagnosis, my mind shut down. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I felt sorry for myself and I kept asking, why me? Was I thinking about my breasts or whether I could keep my hair? Absolutely, but I was also thinking about my 3 little girls and my fate.

Within days I had another mammogram, then a biopsy, and then, on May 5th, I experienced my heart sink when I got the call with cancer and my name in the same sentence. Stage 0 Breast Cancer. Nobody in my family has any kind of cancer. It was caught early, yet I had so many questions.

Every day felt like an eternity before I met with my oncologist. I had a lumpectomy on June 15th, and a few days later, I got the call from my doctor, following my pathology report, stating that the cancer was officially out of my body.

I share this story, to say PLEASE get checked early. Even if there is no cancer history in your family. Get checked. I heard it all the time and I myself discounted the notion and waited.

There is a reason why that message is out there. If you get checked and nothing is there, that is so wonderful! And, if you get checked and there is something, I hope they catch it early on like me to get it out. No one is immune to getting cancer, unfortunately.

Mine was caught early at Stage 0, and I still had options. I know that’s not always the case. My sister in law died 3 years ago after battling Stage 4 breast cancer for 8 years.

This October, I ask you, please, to do more than post a slogan. I ask you to ask yourself; What if this was someone I loved? What if it was me? What if this was your friends, your family, your children? And remember, 1 in 8. And yes it matters. It matters to me. It’s the only silver lining I can find from getting cancer myself…to make sure I spread the message.

October is here, and the world will wear pink. I’m asking you to make this month matter.

Resources for consideration:

How/where do I get a mammogram?

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Where can I find more information about breast cancer:

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