October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Oct 2015I’ve been very retrospective and contemplative lately – thinking through things that have and are happening in my life. One of the things I have been doing, healthy or not, is revisiting some of the blogs I used to follow during Scotty’s cancer treatment.  I’m not sure why I revisit them. Maybe it’s to remind me how fortunate we were to catch his colon cancer early. Maybe it’s to remind me how precious life is. Maybe it’s to remind me that there are many, many people out there with bigger, life and death decisions they are dealing with.  Maybe it’s the real knowledge you can glean from their journey. Maybe it’s all of the above and more…

A few of the blog authors’ have died – my stomach drops when I revisit a blog and find the most recent post is their obituary. The blogs I followed were written by people who wrote so eloquently about their journey and held onto their strength until the very end.

It’s always a reminder to me that cancer happens to real people, rich, poor, young and old. It doesn’t discriminate.

I read a recent blog post from Julie Yip-Williams: My cancer fighting journey, who is battling Stage 4 Colon Cancer that really struck me…

I had grown over the months from the belligerent warrior who was determined to beat this cancer to the more contemplative philosopher who seeks above all else to find meaning, peace and acceptance in a life over which I have little control. Cancer, at least for me, truly is a journey that makes me question and analyze all my beliefs about myself (as in whether I am strong or weak, brave or cowardly), about the existence of a higher being and its role in the affairs of mankind, about commitment and love (as in how far will I go to stay alive for my family), about the meaning of my life and life in general, about death and what awaits. If you are open to these inevitable questions that only something like incurable cancer can force into the forefront of your mind, if you allow yourself the time and patience to mull over these complex, baffling, painful and impossible queries, the journey both will change you (for the better I believe) and make you more of who you have always been.

If you want to learn more about Julie, who is a prominent NYC attorney, here’s a good article: One Story: How The Challenge Of Colon Cancer Stage 4 Is Making Julie Yip-Williams Better, Smarter, Kinder

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month. A recent article I came across had the title Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness.  The use of the word celebrate seemed odd to me. Real women and men are battling right now and while they celebrate their personal victories, the fact that they are dealing with this horrible disease at all is not cause to celebrate. We shouldn’t celebrate by talking about boobs and wearing pink. Instead, let’s figure out a way to make breast cancer detection methods easier and cheaper to access, learn ways each of us can influence brands and countries to limit exposure to the harmful chemicals that are invading our daily lives, and become more educated and aware of the ways each one of us can prevent cancer ourselves.

I was inspired when I read about football player, DeAngelo Williams, offering to pay for mammograms instead of wearing pink as a way to honor his mom who died from breast cancer.  What an honorable way to make a true impact as opposed to just wearing pink or forgoing a bra for the day. Not every can afford to do that kind of gesture of course, but it certainly is leading by example. Maybe more professional athletes will learn from his actions and start putting money where their mouth is.

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