I woke up this morning as I do every other weekday morning falling out of bed, turning on the computer, crawling my way into the kitchen and into the boy’s rooms. Once my eyes finally open I put breakfast on the table, get back packs in order and stop to pause and kiss my children on their way out the door reminding them to say their prayers. After cleaning up, making beds, washing up the dishes, putting the dog out and taking a deep breath the silence becomes almost deafening honestly. I know I should embrace the quiet and enjoy my orderly house for the day right? I do, really, but I also miss my kids and the sometimes crazy but always beautiful noise they bring into my life on a daily basis.
With all we have been through as a family over the last 4 years you would think I would be tougher than this right? You know the “one tough mama” thing? I may be stubborn but tough… not at all. I am a simple woman, a mother and a wife who sometimes feels a bit inadequate but always tries with her whole heart. I sometimes wonder if I am doing enough maybe too much at times, but always trying right? Maybe I should think of myself as a badge, pink suit and pistol carrying agent of the SBCA (Survivors of Breast Cancer Agency)? I can just see it now…..Storming through doors, running the streets, chasing down the beast, out of breathe saying “book ‘em Boob O” ! I know, I know I could be Captain Breast-less! Yes I can see it now!
Seriously though, I sometimes wonder if this is not how the world sees many survivors of breast cancer. I know it sounds hilarious but many of those who survive become poster children for the Untouchables. Many begin to see us as super strong, invincible and unbreakable but the truth is we are still battling our own inner beast, even if she is just circling at the moment; she is still waiting to attack!
As breast cancer alumni we live everyday with our scars and for those of us who have survived though our battles are different, they are still a daily struggle. Every morning we face the mirror and our scars. Most days they are just part of the background, not the whole picture but there are some days when they are all we see. Many grow tired of the cause, of hearing you talk of your battle and the road which has brought you full circle. You won; you beat the beast right, so move on. Sadly these are the kind of opinions which lead to many survivors pushing away, locking themselves behind closed doors and struggles with their scars alone.
It has four years since I myself lost my breast to cancer. My breast was taken from me in a rather brutal way if you really sit down and think about it. Honestly I envision the surgeon removing and slicing my young, yes beautiful breast up like a piece of cake. Did I jump up and down asking to live as a uniboober in a two boobed world? Not in the least, but it is the hand I have been dealt. So today I ask you as family, friends, and loved ones to take a step back and put yourself in our shoes if just for a minute. Close your eyes and envision yourself in front of the mirror… now think about opening your robe and seeing what we see. Think about losing your breast, of waking up one morning and having it suddenly gone and in your breast’s place a scar stretching from one side of your left chest to under your arm. Now think about the courage it takes to face the world each and every day….
So as we head in to October, I encourage you my friends during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to take the time to dig deep within yourself. Don’t roll your eyes when you see the pink ribbons rolled out or allow yourself a quiet riot inside because your are tired of hearing about breast cancer and all the woes. I can tell you each and every survivor is tired of the fight too. Instead ask yourself how you would face the beast if it were you, your wife, your mother or your daughter, even your son? Why not exchange shoes with those who have fought the fight and appreciate them for just a moment instead of pushing them far and away from your life. Take the survivor in your life seriously, treat them with care, maybe to lunch, pick up the phone and ask how they are doing and really listen this time.
Making a commitment to breast cancer is not just turning in lids though this is a wonderful way to contribute. No, making the commitment is deciding to stay the course with those who you know personally fighting the beast. If we are going to win this battle then we have to climb outside our own windows and get a little dirty. Making the fight against breast cancer personal means we have to get up close with those who have survived and those who are fighting to survive.
I think I will just take a moment now to put on my badge, straighten my pink suit and grab my pink breast cancer fighting pistol making sure my boob is tightly in place before I step out the door today as an agent of the SBCA. The only thing I still need is a partner to cuff the beast… are you willing?