Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Club

The last two weeks have really opened my eyes to something that I think I took for granted. Perhaps took for granted isn't the right phrasing to use. It's something I didn't quite understand. I never really understood the pink ribbons, the "club" like feel surrounding all the "Breast Cancer Awareness" campaigns that have been in the media. I didn't "feel" the passion.

Honestly, I didn't have the amount of empathy I have for many other causes. I know everyone has a cause and many are health related and we kind of lump them in to what we do for work. You know the drill, someone organizes a 5k, we go on a Saturday morning, meet co-workers and walk it. Often times the goal in mind is our own fitness and the cause is really a secondary thought. At least, that is what it seems if whatever is being supported doesn't hit close to home. After all, much of our empathy comes from within, due to circumstances and pain we have already felt - and that pain is then redirected towards the individual or group with a similar plight.

So, let me share a little of what it's like after those words "It is cancer" are spoken to you or someone you love. Naturally, I can only speak for what I felt when those words were spoken to my mom.

Cold. It feels very cold. Perhaps that's in the manner which the news is delivered, but I don't think outside factors influence this internal coldness that I felt at that very moment. It was like my bones had been chilled. Goosebumps, all over my body and instant fear.

Lost. You have absolutely no idea where to turn and what to do first. It's easy to think, "well, call a doctor" but which doctor do you call? How do you know you are selecting the absolute best doctor for the task at hand? How long will the wait be? This is a major diagnosis, what is her insurance going to do, what will be covered? What won't be covered? Where do we turn first?

Afraid. Cancer - that's the big C. People die of cancer. Even if this doesn't end up being the worst type of case - do treatments hurt? Will she be sick? How will we get through that? Can she mentally bear this burden?

Hurt. My heart ached from that moment on. I feel terribly sad that my mom is going to have to make choices that will be the most difficult in her life. I know how deep and personal it would be for me if I had to make the choice between risking life or death - or keeping my breasts. If she chooses to not go the double mastectomy route, then will she live in fear that the cancer will return? Will that gnaw at her each day wondering if cells are mutating and multiplying within her remaining breast tissue? Can she take that stress? But, in turn, can she face the mirror if her breasts are removed? Will they do reconstruction immediately?

These are all questions and thoughts that weigh on the mind. Fortunately, many of the questions have have been answered. But, this is my life experience right this very second and I KNOW I'm not alone. Millions of women, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends - they are all experiencing these same thoughts. These same feelings. These same fears. This is why they are part of the "club." They are seeking comfort in knowing they are doing something.

I had no idea. I honestly didn't.

Each day my mother's cancer is on my mind when I wake up. When I go to work. When I come home. When I get on the computer. When I go to bed. No matter what I do, even if it slips out of my mind for a split second, it's looming in the background. I carry it with me on my shoulders and no matter where I go, there he sits, ready to creep back into my mind.

Why do I tell you this? Because there is something each and every one of us can do. We can support organizations that seek out research for treatment and cures. By supporting this, I am supporting my mom. By pushing this, I'm doing what I can FOR HER! I know I'm pushing this hard right now. And I know it may not be quite understood. Perhaps you are like the old me and saying your sick of hearing about breast cancer and seeing pink.

As a family member of someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer, we HAVE to do something. We HAVE to try to help. Especially if they have a personality trait like I have - I want to fix it. I want to make it better. Honestly, it's keeping me sane. I am a strong person. I am strong for her and I'm positive for her. Doing THIS helps me do that for her.

Your donations and participation in the Susan G. Komen walk with me is personal. It's meaningful. It's helping me cope with the situation that has been dealt. Just like the millions of other people affected by this and reaching out to their friends and family to support this cause.

I want to see my team hit 50 participants. I want to see us hit BIG NUMBERS.

So, I've purchased pink bracelets. There are four different "styles" - four different words. Hope. Strength. Faith. Survivor. I will begin selling these and every single dollar will go to my Susan G. Komen fundraiser. Additionally, I'm going to sell pink ribbon car magnets. If I sell out and people want more, I'll buy more to sell.

This is my way of doing something productive with my racing thoughts.

Yes, now I understand. I understand the passion behind the people that push. I understand why the "pink club" exists. I do hope you will never have to join this club. But, please consider joining me for this cause. Rally around my mom with me and let's show her how much good can come of a nasty, nasty day like "diagnosis" day.

There are multiple ways you can support this.

  • You may sponsor me with a donation to the cause - click here to donate now
  • If you are local, please sign up to walk ($25) or run ($32)
  • If you aren't local, please consider to join the team and "Sleep in for the Cure" ($30)
Fundraising is NOT mandatory, but greatly appreciated. Imagine if I was able to gather 50 people who each were able to raise $50 (that's only $10 from 5 friends - that's asking your friends to give up two trips to Starbucks). We would have $2500 in donations (in addition to my individual fundraising goal of $500). Can you imagine if we told my mother we had raised $3000 for the cause? or $4000? or $5000???? Talk about the gift of HOPE!

Please friends, we can do this. We can do it together. Join me, won't you?

Register for Blisters for Becky today by clicking here


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