She is the woman I see when I come across a pink ribbon
Everywhere you look nowadays you see the signs of women surviving cancer. It is a beautiful thing. Twenty-three years ago, my grandmother was fighting a hard battle against her own cancer. We didn’t have the same kind of medicine or technology that we do now. She would take herself to the cancer treatment center, get chemotherapy, and stop by Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home. She would enter with a smile on her face. She asked me about my studies and my life, and what was going on with me.
Towards the end of her treatment, she took me shopping for my prom dress. Her statement was always the same “If the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be around to see you.” I always thought it was one of those funny Southern sayings, but it made me smile nevertheless. I got the most beautiful white dress with sequins I had ever seen. I felt like a princess. A week later she took me to get a pedicure and we stopped and got a chili dog and some Orange Julius fruit drinks. I didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to have that … she hid her nausea well. We made it to spring break, and my grandmother was worse than before, but she hid it so well. I knew she didn’t feel good, but I thought everything was going to be fine. She was always so full of hope, smiles and love. Easter was the last time I got to see her as she passed away the next day.
The day of my prom was one of the most beautiful days ever. I wore my white dress and my grandfather came over to take pictures. I knew we were all grieving, but I also knew that my grandmother was there with me in spirit, and she would not have wanted me to be sad. Even as I write this, I feel a sense of pride in all that she did. She truly was inspirational in her fight with the disease and she never let it stop her from doing what she wanted to do. She is the woman I see when I come across a pink ribbon. She will always be my inspiration as I go through my own struggles in life.
I tell you this story to urge you to take a really close look at what your personal health insurance provides you as far as well woman visits. What are you missing? Are you getting screened every single year starting at age 35? I have been since age 30. I know what the new guidelines say…50. Age 50?!? I can’t even fathom that because there are so many beautiful women my age, 40, who already have been through chemotherapy. Let’s get to know our breasts at a young age … for real. Let’s know if the scan looks different from one year to the next. I tell you this because even as far back as 1989, when my grandmother missed just one year, just one year of a scan, the next year when she went back for her mammogram the tumor was there. And guess what? I had a scare as well. I missed one year because I knew I was early on getting my check-ups. I will never ever forget the day when they called me and told me I had to have a biopsy. It was one of the scariest days of my life.
I was lucky. It was benign. I will carry around a tiny speck in my left breast forever where the spot was so that they know they checked there. Grab a girlfriend right now wherever you are, and share this article with them. Then say, “I called and I am going this week. Can you come with me?” Let’s go get our mammo-jam on together. Proudly ask your friends … it could save a life.
The time is NOW to heal what is within ~ mind, body and spirit.