April, 2010, our family doctor called me at work: “Tina, after a full examination and biopsy, we found some dark spots in your father’s brain…and they appear to be cancerous.”
Just like that. My father was diagnosed with cancer. All the symptoms that my father was suffering for weeks until that point was explained with that simple phone call. And just like that, my life turned downward…for the second time. You see, just one and a half years before that phone call, my life took a tragic turn when my mother, who suffered long and hard with congestive heart problems, was called home to Heaven. And it occurred again. With this phone call. The cancer started in his lungs; by the time the doctors caught the disease, it had already spread to his brain and his esophagus. I lost Daddy just four weeks after his diagnosis. I lost both of my parents within 1 ½ years of each other. It’s difficult to describe the ache of the loss, the double-whammy that hit my soul at that time. I managed to survive this, which is something I would never wish on anyone.
I mention this because…I just received a phone call myself, proceeded by a letter, from my medical care provider and doctor, concluding my annual physical: “Tina, we are pleased to inform you that the results of your recent Mammo Digital Screening Bilateral (mammogram) are negative.” I literally cried when I received these words, tears of immense relief. It’s also poetic that this takes place during the month of my birth; a signal of new chances, don’t you think?
As I’m sure everyone is aware, this is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is very near and dear to me, as I lost my father to cancer. It’s a different type of cancer, yes; but in my humble opinion, ALL cancer sucks. Cancer takes away too many people, too many loved ones, destroys too many lives. As I described before, it can happen instantly. Your life can change in a flash; so quickly, like a blink. You never know what life will bring to you. Particularly with this silent murderer cancer, breast cancer.
According to Breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2016 alone, an estimation of over 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in this country. You know what else? About 2,600 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in MEN in 2016. No one is safe.
Cancer knows no gender; no race; no economic differences; no politics, no sexual orientation. My heart goes out to anyone fighting this disease; who survived it; who lost to it; and who lost someone to it. We all need to come together and show any support in any way you can, whether it’s financially, participating in a charity event or bringing any time of awareness (I’ve done it all). Starting with ourselves. We can’t surrender. We cancervive.