Breast Cancer Awareness

This time of year, I start looking back and remembering how I once thought my good health was a guarantee.  At 32, one should be in the prime of their life. Health is not one of those areas in my life I considered much. If my children had a runny nose, I would take them straight to the doctor. Mother’s waste no time making sure their babies are taken care of, but I think all too often we over look our own health as parents.  Taking my health and life for granted stopped August 26th 2009 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  When I heard the diagnosis, every breath of air became a priority. My first thoughts were of my babies and how was I going to tell them.  My second though was, “Beth you are so stupid!” I had a lump. It didn’t hurt, so I dismissed it.  I was running 3.5 miles a day, eating right, I was only 32 years old and no history of breast cancer on either side of my family. By all rights, it was a logical dismissal in my mind.  The doctor explained the aggressive cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. All I heard was a death sentence.   After the verdict was read to me, I came to Infant Crisis Services to tell my “extended family” the news.  They rallied and supported me through every step of chemo treatments, surgeries, radiation and reconstruction.  Infant Crisis Services was a bright spot in the darkest time of my life.

While I was in treatments, I remember walking through the playroom where our little clients played and their mom’s shop.  It crossed my mind of how fortunate I was to have such a wonderful support system. I began to wonder would the moms in the room, if ever diagnosed, have the kind resources and support I had received.  Would she even know the signs of breast cancer? Would she know where to go to get help?  Then a flood of anger rushed over me at the thought of one more mother who had to tell their child they had cancer. I decided that I wanted to do something, anything to try and prevent even one more person from ever having to endure telling their child they have cancer.  

Breast Cancer Awareness week was born 4 years ago.  Each year, we “pink out” the check in and out areas and set up a table for our moms to provide them with educational material about breast cancer.  We were honored this year to have the Komen Central/Western volunteers talk to our moms about breast cancer detection.  The playroom is full of pink ribbon stickers, which equals awareness, in turn may save a life.  It makes being bald for a little while worth it.