For those who are not aware, today marks the first of October, breast cancer awareness month. This day means that I have only 27 more days until I will walk 39.3 miles. Today also begins a month of pink. While doing some research about breast cancer awareness month, I came across Pink for October, a website filled with stories of those who have and are still battling breast cancer. While making my way through Pink for October, I came across a particular story that I believe is the most appropriate story to share with you all to mark the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. So here is to Sherry Smyth, whose words are not only inspiring, but are the words of a truly strong woman.
If anyone is interested in making a donation towards breast cancer, please visit my Avon Page. And please take the time to help spread awareness this month about breast cancer. Change the background on your twitter page to pink or make a facebook post dedicated to breast cancer awareness. You will be surprised how something so small, can mean so much.
Dear breast cancer:
Once again it is October and your name is one everyone’s lips. The world has turned to a sea of pink and large and small corporations and companies look to make money based on your infamy and the fear that lurks in the hearts and souls of women the world over. So many women, who buy this, support that, donate to this fundraiser, walk for 2 days, run for 5 kilometres and all the while, hoping and praying that you and they never come face to face. They can run from you but sadly too many cannot hide.
You are a sneaky, insidious devil aren’t you breast cancer. You hide where you can and then when someone least expects you, out you come ready to wreak havoc on the life of the woman (or man) you have claimed as “your own”, their family and their friends. You think you rule with the upper hand but remember this breast cancer...we know so much more about you now and we are prepared to do battle with you and show you that we are not to be trifled with.
It’s true that some of the people you visit are not aware of your presence and you manage to get a firm grip into their lives and for that I say shame on you. But remember this...we are educated now about early detection and having yearly mammograms and doing breast self exams and we are well informed about how you operate. Oh yes we are.
After seven years, I still refer to you as breast cancer is small letters because even though you claimed a large part of my time and my energy and my life, you are still just this small, insignificant, bothersome little runt. You do not deserve to be spoken to with respect. You need to remember that whatever else you have brought into my life and the lives of so many others, what you gave me was the biggest gift of all.
You made me remember how much life is to be savoured and appreciated. You reminded me of all the small and large things to be grateful for in my life, every single day. You gave me freedom and you taught me how to deal with fear. You gave me the gift of every day – that this day; the one I am in is the one that matters. Not yesterday, not tomorrow but simply today.
When my hair started to fall out, I had my hair dresser shave it off and I loved being bald. True, I wore a wig when I went outdoors and I lived in bandanas the rest of the time, but the minute I hit the front door, you know that wig went flying onto the bench in the hall. And how many times did I open the front door to guests bald as a billiard ball? And how comfortable were people with me...with the real me, the open, honest, bare to the bones this is who I am me? But most importantly breast cancer, you taught me to love myself and to see myself right down to my soul.
You arrived thinking you were going to be my final nemesis. You left knowing that I had the gumption, the spirit, the courage and the strength to say “not just yet”.
With fists up,