Before my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought I was an advocate. I wore pink in October, and even participated in a few breast cancer awareness walks. If someone was fundraising, I would donate a few dollars, and even change my profile picture to a pink ribbon on occasion. I didn’t know much about the disease, just that there seemed to be a massive driving force towards bringing awareness, advocacy and all that is pink towards the public eye.
Before my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer I’d watch commercials about events showing men and women dressed in outrageous pink outfits, bright smiles on their faces, temporary pink ribbon tattoos on their cheeks, flexing their muscles showing that they’re “fighting like a girl.” Some of these women wore shirts with “survivor” written on them. These commercials depicted hope. They showed strength and power. Even with their pink bandanas, these women were beautiful.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer I thought about what I knew about the disease. I started buying pink items and remembered how strong, happy and confident the women in these commercials appeared to be. I remember thinking to myself “that’s how my mom will be.”
No one prepared me for the true face of breast cancer. My hopeful vision of the power of pink was replaced with fear. I understand why these commercials are created. I understand the power of positive thinking. But the reality of breast cancer is one that I will never forget. No matter how many clever breast cancer fighting catch phrases we’d smother my mother with, it wasn’t enough for her to regain her spirit. Breast cancer took her hair from her. It took away her ability to walk on her own. It made it difficult for her to eat, and use the bathroom on her own. She couldn’t drive. Her skin became thin, dark and painful to the touch. Cancer took away her ability to speak or think correctly. It removed her confidence. Her femininity. It made her uncomfortable with tubes, bandages, and bags. It made her fearful of leaving her family every single day to the point where she’d fight to stay awake, for fear of dying in her sleep. My mother never deserved breast cancer, nor does anyone else.
In an effort to make a difference in my mother’s name, I will be participating in a study by the American Cancer Society.
I’ve received this email before, but never really thought about actually doing it. With my mom’s passing, I feel like this is something I can do to assist in cancer prevention research. I can’t bring my mother back, however, I can prevent other daughters from losing their mothers much too soon.
Would you like to join me in this important study? It’s not too late to sign up! Click here for more information. And don’t forget: Team Judy is currently fundraising for Moffitt Cancer Center’s Miles for Moffitt race in May! Please consider donating or participating with us! Click here for more details.