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Friday, October 1, 2010

Pink is upon us again, join the Army of Women

Twice a year, the U.S. (and perhaps the world..I don't know) start "thinking pink." May, around Mother's Day and October, everyone reminds you to "think pink! It's Breast Cancer Awareness month (in the case of October). I wonder why they chose October, because it has Halloween, and is therefore scary?

Some of us have to think pink daily. Blazoned across my brain and everywhere else I am praying for a cure. The Army of Women not only works for a cure in research, as well as offering several mentoring possibilities, but it pushes for breast cancer prevention. Is it possible? I sure as heck hope so. Take a look at this.

I support the Army of Women, and would like you to take a look at their website, even though I think that "Army of Women" is a little, um... sexist as men get breast cancer too. One of the things I really like about AOW is that they really get the word out and there are lots of research opportunities for people to participate in. Check this out here. If you qualify, or if you know of someone who qualifies for a study, please please please ask them to participate.

I am currently in the study for young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. I was the first one in my family to win the cancer prize when I was diagnosed at age 33. I was married at age 30, and had my first (and only) child at age 32. I was 38 when I had a stage IV recurrence with bone metastases. I was cancer free until this year when I was diagnosed with multiple metastases to various bone locations in May, 13 years after the second diagnosis, 16 years after the first.

Unfortunately, I had a daughter. Why unfortunately? Because I'm afraid that she might get it too, and that was a motivating reason for me to join the AOW and participate in this study. With a sister, and both parents still living, perhaps studying my genetics will provide something so that they can figure out how to avoid it.

Don't get me wrong, I really really want a cure. Currently, I am living my life wondering if I should join soemthing , or buy something because I might not live long enough to enjoy it. In just a little bit, I will celebrate my 20th anniversary with my poor husband who has lived most of his married life with a woman who is no longer interested in sex because she had her ovaries removed when she was 38 to try to prevent a recurrence. He married a woman who ran, biked and swam, but for the last year can barely walk some days because of the pain in her pelvis because of the recurrence/damage caused by cancer and its treatment.

Even if you don't have stage IV, even if you don't have a recurrence, it is always the elephant in the room, a shadow hanging over your shoulder. Some days you think about it. Lots of other days you don't. If we could find out more to prevent it, it would be great.

Don't believe all of the stories about "well, if you didn't do this, or that" then you wouldn't have breast cancer. Listen folks, I was slender, I was active, I didn't drink, smoke, nor was I ever on birth control pills. For several years, I was a vegetarian. I ate healthy food, far more vegetables than most people. Yet, I got cancer. I gained weight. I struggle to survive. Finding out more, working to prevent it is definitely something I can support and hope you do too.

And the rose? It's Belle Story, a wonderful long blooming rose by David Austin, great fragrance, great color, long lasting and tough. Something I wish we all were.


Ginny Marie said...

While I wasn't a vegetarian, I was thin, didn't drink, didn't smoke, never took artificial hormones and was very active. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 27.

Best wishes to you as you continue to fight the cancer that is in your body. I hope you have many more good years to come.

Michigoose said...

Stinks doesn't it Ginny Marie! Love your blog, you've done a much better job at this than I have. The Army of women IS for everyone, a cancer patient, survivor, or not. One of these days I'll learn to embed videos! Maybe today!

Vivien Zepf said...

This is a beautiful, heartfelt post, Lisa. Thank you.