Today is October 1st – the 1st day of breast cancer awareness month. I lost my beautiful 46 year old mother-in-law to breast cancer.
One year after she passed away, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first time. I was 34 years old, so please don’t read this and think you are too young to be worried about your breast health. I thought I was invincible…until that day. I had the standard treatment – lumpectomy (two), radiation, and a daily dose of Tamoxifen for the next 5 years. Started feeling invincible again around year 3, and decided to stop taking the hormone-blocking meds to have a baby. I don’t regret that decision, because my McKenzie is my lovely heartbeat that walks around on earth. She has spent a right smart of my money since she’s been here, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. Well maybe a million dollars.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer again when she was 3. This time was different. With the first battle, I figured if something happened to me, I had lived a pretty good life and Nate (my husband) could go on without me. He’s easy on the eyes…tall, dark and handsome…all he needed what somebody who could cook and he would be straight. Of course, the heffa would need to be bigger than me (a lot) or blow up shortly after marriage so she couldn’t fit into any of my clothes. Hey, even in times of struggle, I can be petty.
However, McKenzie needed her mommy. Just like I needed all the mommies (biological, adoptive, and legal guardian) who had abandoned me – one through no fault of her own. I didn’t want my story to be my baby’s. Not without a fight. I sooo did not want to do chemo. I took a couple of tests and they all came back saying that if I didn’t do chemo, the risk of my cancer coming back in 5-10 years was 29%. I’m a CPA, so I rounded that up and figured I had a 1 in 3 chance of it returning. Um, I’ll take the chemo, Alex, for $500. I had to throw everything in the arsenal including the kitchen sink at this disease for my baby.
Of course, I lost my hair. I’m a bit vain, and I wasn’t sure how my bald head would look. Thankfully, it wasn’t oddly shaped, and I didn’t look like an alien bout the head. I still rocked a wig for most of my treatment. And makeup. I was always expecting to run into Morris Chestnut on my way to chemo but it never happened. I also had both breasts removed (bilateral mastectomy) this time. My attempt at reconstruction failed, because I’m just “lucky” like that.
Breast cancer is synonymous with the color pink, which I never thought too much about until I ended up with these scars. Though the color pink is beautiful (and my favorite before AKA and breast cancer), the reality of breast cancer is anything but. It’s a horrible disease..it robs of you of so much and sometimes even your life. I’ve hidden my scars for the past year….but today I proudly accept them and show them. They tell the story I just told you. Of how I went up against breast cancer TWICE and WON. You can win too…against breast cancer and anything else. And don’t be ashamed of your scars. They are proof that you are a warrior.
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