I was number 10 on my mother’s maternal line to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew I was high risk, so I was diligent in my screenings. What am I saying? You are your first line of defense. You must put yourself first and get screened; otherwise, if you have breast cancer, it will never be found.
Throughout my journey, I learned that sometimes the treatment can be harder on the people around you than it is on you. Because of this revelation, I made light of the difficult situation and threw a surgery party for my husband and sister in the surgery waiting room with more than 50 of our closest friends and family members in attendance during my 11-hour procedure. A friend made me a sign in book, so I was able to see who came to support my loved ones and even had a place for an uplifting note from my “party” attendees.
So I learned from this experience that we do not realize how much people care about you until you are facing adversity. They want to help you, so tell them what you need. It is okay to do so at this time in your life. It helps to give you a positive attitude and willpower, so accept the support and help of friends and family.
I attribute my survivorship to the great technicians, nurse practitioners and doctors, and Susan G. Komen’s commitment to ending breast cancer with their research dollars. There is a direct correlation between the inception of Susan G. Komen and breast cancer survival rate. Additionally, Komen Houston introduced me to so many other survivors who gave me wonderful advice to take on my journey.
I look forward to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Houston every year. I consider it my birthday because recognizing my survival is more important than my actual birthday. We are treated as so very special at the race because we are survivors. We are surrounded by about 10,000 people who want to support us. It is a gift.
So if you are diagnosed with breast cancer do not go on this journey alone. There are so many people who want to prop you up and hold your hand. Let them – you have my permission.
I hope to see you at the Race. Look for me – I’ll be in pink, dancing and celebrating, and I want to see you dancing and celebrating right next to me.