Monday, March 17, 2008

On your toes:

I’d like to interrupt with a personal plea. I want each of you to look at your sisters, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, aunts, cousins, nieces, granddaughters and friends. Just take one moment and really look/think of them.

You’d do anything for them, wouldn’t you? Shove them off the tracks from the path of an on coming train, or car. You’d buckle the girls into a seatbelt for a drive as short as down to your local market. You’d tell your best friend she looks absolutely horrid in that shade of green. Right?

But have you looked at these same women and said, “Have you done a breast exam?” No? Yeah, me neither. Why? I don’t know. It seems kind of weird to tell your best friend to check out her own boobs. It’s even more bizarre to tell your mom. And your teenage daughter? Please! We’d rather eat glass than admit our little girls are even grown enough to have boobs!

Besides, why talk to your teenager about breast exams. After all breast cancer is a disease of older women right?

Sorry to say that’s not the case. Very sorry actually. I have a friend who is only 21. At 20 she was diagnosed with extremely aggressive breast cancer. Just shy of her 21st she was having a double mastectomy. Happy 21—you’ll be seeing 22 minus very large pieces of yourself. Now the cancer has spread into her spine.

But she isn’t what prompted this post. My daughter did. If you have gone by my personal blog you have read this, but I’ll repeat it here.

My daughter has a teenage friend (17) who has cancer. This is all I knew about the girl. She had cancer and she was really sick. My daughter is very private and she keeps everything bottled up. She never really let on exactly how sick this girl was.

DD went to school on Friday and as is our weekly schedule, she was picked up by my SIL so they could go to work together. I didn’t see DD until Saturday afternoon. She was sullen, moody, and a complete teenage monster.

I became agitated—as only a mother of a teen can get—and I blew a gasket. I demanded a reason for her behavior. I really didn’t want the one I got.

Her friend was robbed of life by a disease that has no known cure. This girl will never grow up, hold a diploma, carry a bouquet at a friend’s wedding, never know the joy and misery of dating, of marriage, of motherhood.

So I’m asking you to do a very hard thing. Look at a woman you love, admire and/or respect and try to picture that void left in your life when they aren’t there. Then I want you to swallow your ill ease and talk to that woman about a breast exam. Then look in the mirror and remind that woman to do her own exam.

Educate yourself and all those you love. Be a BRA.

For information on breast cancer please visit the Susan G Komen foundation website, The National Cancer Institute, or American Cancer Society.


No comments: