Two years ago prior to February 14, 2012 I might would have felt that I had done my part in breast cancer awareness by taking a no makeup selfie and baring myself to the point that I was certain that I had endured what a breast cancer patient was going through. That I had made myself so incredibly vulnerable. And by posting such a picture of myself I might would have felt that I had certainly raised awareness for breast cancer. But.........
February 14, 2012 changed the way I see breast cancer and breast cancer awareness and spreading breast cancer awareness. I'm not putting anyone down at all. That is not what this post is about at all. This post is about how breast cancer has changed my life and how I see breast cancer awareness.
The way I see breast cancer is remembering my family being crushed imagining what my 30 year old sister, who is a wife and mother of two, was going to endure and thinking she was leaving us. I see breast cancer as stopping her world for almost 2 years. I see breast cancer as having tests and doctor appointments and more tests and more doctor appointments before a decision is completely made. I see it as having her chest basically cut off and reconstructed. Having bandages and drains for over a month, with more doctor visits. A port placed in her chest for blood draws and poisons to be pumped through her veins. I see 6 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks that totally drained her energy, her color and tried to suck the life right out of her. I see her losing her hair. I see another recontructive surgery before she could start her 5 weeks of daily radiation treatments an hour one way from home. I see her drained. I see her fighting for her life. I see her living for her family and still trying to keep life as normal as possible for her family. I see her finally getting to finish her recontruction over a year later. I still see her having many doctors visits in the years to come. I see her living. I see her accomplishing dreams and goals that she never knew she had until now.
I'm not belittling what anyone is doing to raise awareness for breast cancer. If you really want to raise awareness for breast cancer at least post along with your no makeup picture to go get a mammogram, do a self breast exam, donate to breast cancer research, do something! But in all honesty, 2 years ago the thought to actually do something to help in raising awareness for breast cancer probably would have never occurred to me, because it hadn't been a part of my life until now.
What do I do? I donate. I participate in the Susan G Komen 5 k held here in Roanoke, we've had a team for the past 3 years. I, along with my mom, family and friends, make mastectomy aprons and donate them to cancer patients undergoing a mastectomy in which they will have drains placed for sometime after the surgery. You can learn more about the aprons here. I get my mammogram (when I'm not nursing a baby!). I do self checks.