October is breast cancer awareness months and there is so much on my mind, that I would like to say. Breast cancer -or any other kind of cancer – is not just something that hits older folks; more and more young women and young men are diagnosed as well. Today I would like to express myself in writing.
Many of us are affected by breast cancer, either directly or indirect, when we watch mothers, daughters, sisters, wife’s and girlfriends fighting for their life’s. But not just women are affected- although it is much rarer – men are susceptible to breast cancer as well. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 2,350 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2015, compared with 231,840 in women. An estimated 440 men will die of breast cancer this year.
Early detection is the key. There are many YouTube videos showing men and women how to do a self exam, there are even movies showing how to do a partner exam -what can be fun. Don’t think for a minute that you can’t be affected. Don’t think that you are too young, or feel safe because it doesn’t run in your family.
Before I write more about what’s on my mind, I would like you all to meet “Anncredible” and her incredible journey called “One year of breast cancer.”
I am sometimes surprised by the way some people react to cancer and I think that’s what always bothered me the most. So today –like it or not- I will write about it.
Here are my cancer guidelines and as always, please remember that this is only my point of view. I have a t-shirt saying “Heck, yes these are fake, the real ones tried to kill me,” and I watched my best friend die of breast cancer last year.
- First of all, cancer is not contagious, neither does it define us. It is a disease that tries to kill us, but it can be beaten. Anything is possible and the right attitude is important. Not just the attitude of the one who is sick, but although the attitude of family and friends around them. Don’t pull back, be there~!
- Join the fight and be there for your friend or family member. If you don’t have the time to join their entire journey, then show your support. Write cards with encouragement, send a text or leave a message. Make them laugh, don’t treat them any different.
- Be there when they cry, join a pity party and share the anger, but make sure the pity party doesn’t go on for too long. Crying doesn’t help when you have to fight.
- If you have long hair and you know your friend or your family member will lose her hair, cut your hair short and donate it to “Locks of Love”. Many women are in need of a wig and money is often tight. If don’t want to cut your hair, or if it’s not long enough for a donation, get a pink strand, either permanent or sprayed on, or just an extension. Buy funny hats and give your friend a bold-head party, bake a silly cake and keep her spirits up (funny hats are priceless).
- There are many websites that offer headbands, turbans, wigs, shawl and other accessories…go there, buy one or two in the color you know they like. Believe me, it will be appreciated. Sick or not, most women still care about how they look like.
- “I pray for you” is a very nice message, but it is a downer, especially for people who aren’t religious. Whenever I heard “I pray for you” I knew it was meant well, but it didn’t make me feel good. It felt like game over. If you believe that prayers will help, just do it, don’t mention it all the time.
- Small surprises go a long way, cards, a recorded CD, a silly note or a stuffed animal. Be creative~!
- If you are not really close to the person, don’t bring food by. If you want to do something, ask what they would like to have, before you stop by with your favorite thanksgiving casserole. Many women have families and keeping life normal is important to them. Instead of bringing by food, offer to cook for them and if you want, go and do the grocery shopping, offer to clean the house or walk the dog. Get involved~!
- And last but not least, don’t say “I know how you feel,” because the truth is you don’t, we all have different circumstances and react differently. How about you ask instead “How do you feel?”. Listening is so important.
- And as Marilyn said in her comments, don’t go missing afterwards.
I guess what I was trying to say, let them feel your love and don’t be scared~!
Links and recommendations:
Susan D. Komen: More than 10,000 raced yesterday for the cure in Phoenix, AZ, there you can find events near by
Make a donations in the name of your family member or friend to the National Breast Cancer Foundation or to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. There are may others and the money is spend differently at each organisation, please research it well.
Donate your hair to “Locks of Love.”
Headbands, Scarves, Turbans and much more at “curediva.”
Buy a pink t-shirt, that shows your support and wear pink proudly. Be creative~!
Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?