Pink ribbons, pink-out games, pink T-shirts, pink balloons: pink is everywhere during the month of October. A constant reminder of one of the toughest things my family has ever had to go through.
In January of last year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy to remove the cancer and went through 20 rounds of radiation.
Her cancer came and went like a tornado. It picked up our life, spun it around and left us with a lot of debris to clean up.
I am fortunately happy to say today she is cancer free and has been since she had the lumpectomy.
Yet, the sting is still there.
She takes medicine every day that causes some rough side effects. She also goes to the doctor every few months to get bloodwork done and make sure everything is OK.
Her cancer is gone, but it is still very present in our lives. In fact, it will never not be a part of our lives from now on.
I kind of dread October 1, which ironically happens to be my birthday. Companies start bringing out their pink decorations, sports teams order their pink jerseys, and the, often sad, breast cancer awareness commercials start playing on TV.
All of those things do a great job of bringing awareness to this horrible disease that approximately 281,550 women will be diagnosed with this year, according to the American Cancer Society’s estimate.
However, this month doesn’t bring awareness of this disease to the women who have had it, just bad memories, and many emotions.
For some women this month is hard. Everywhere they look is a constant reminder of what they went through, and for many, what they are going through.
For my mom, it’s a reminder of telling her children she has cancer, of surgery recovery, and of painfully burnt skin from radiation
For some that have lost a loved one to this horrible disease, this month is one giant reminder of what took their loved one’s life.
My mom doesn’t like calling herself a breast cancer survivor. Even though that’s technically what she is, those are powerful words that carry a lot of weight.
At games and events when the announcer asks breast cancer survivors to stand up and be recognized, you will find my mom sitting.
She doesn’t want to shine a lot on something she wishes had never happened.
This month is for bringing awareness to this absolutely horrible disease, but it isn’t for everyone. We must be sensitive to what this month may trigger for some people.
Whether they be someone who has gone through or is currently going through themselves or a friend or family member that loves someone who has, this month brings up different emotions for everybody.
Breast cancer is a cruel, evil disease that I wish never existed, but it does. And October 1 through 31 my mom, my family, and thousands of others are reminded every single day everywhere we look.