Today marks the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s easy to remember that October is dedicated to awareness of the disease. Every year we see pink ribbon products invade our retail stores, and promotions are easily found to help raise money for breast cancer research. People wear their pink ribbon apparel to show their support for those battling breast cancer. But what does Breast Cancer Awareness Month really mean to you? Is it a time to find good deals on your favorite products wrapped in pink packaging, or does it mean something more? As the granddaughter of a breast cancer survivor, I used to wear my pink ribbon proudly every October in remembrance of her and to bring awareness to others. Last October, that pink ribbon pin took on a whole new meaning for me and my family.
A year ago today, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After two mammograms and an outpatient biopsy, I was still optimistic that we would receive a good report from the doctor. I will never forget the moment of shock and fear when I heard the news of her diagnosis. My grandmother had survived breast cancer, so I optimistic my mother would do the same. What really grieved my heart was knowing the journey ahead of her and wishing I could take the pain away. It didn’t seem fair that my mother would have breast cancer and have to endure a mastectomy, and I couldn’t help but think that this would also increase my chances of developing this disease.
Hearing my mother say, “I have breast cancer,” definitely rocked my world. I struggled with anger, fear, resentment, and sorrow over my mother’s diagnosis, and I cried a lot of tears. My mother, however, handled her diagnosis like a storm trooper. Unlike my grandmother, who cried the entire drive back home from the doctor’s office, my mother was optimistic and already planning her attack. Although cancer was only discovered in one breast, my mother had made the decision to have a double mastectomy as a precaution. This decision was made partly by witnessing my grandmother’s battle with breast cancer, but also partly by intuition. After all was said and done, the toxicology report revealed there was undetected cancer in her second breast, so she had made the right decision to have both removed. Never underestimate the power of a woman’s intuition!
Through it all, my mother has remained optimistic and has been an inspiration to me and my family. She has endured two surgeries, a staph infection, and medication side effects, yet still considers herself blessed. How does she do it? By counting her blessings and by trusting in a faithful God. The road to recovery hasn’t been easy, but God has been with her every step of the way. The Bible says in Isaiah 43:2, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (NLT). This scripture is comforting because it reminds us that God is always with us and we have nothing to fear as long as he is on our side.
This October, my family definitely has something to celebrate. Thanks be to God, my mother is a breast cancer survivor! Don’t you think it’s time to bring on the pink??? I do! Why don’t you consider wearing pink this month to show your support and to increase awareness? Join us in the fight against breast cancer!