October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year I wore a pink ribbon pin every day. And I handed out pink ribbon pins. Last year I was bold.
This year I do not feel brave. This year, I wish the month did not exist.
In December 2007 a colleague and friend gave me a journal to write in. She said it was important for me to write about my journey. The front cover of the journal has this proverb: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” I thought she was crazy. Why would I want to write anything about what I was going through? But I wrote.
I started reading my entries a couple of days ago. (Ironic that my first doctor’s appointment was in October). What is most interesting about my early entries was the positive attitude. Everything the doctors told me was “yet more good news.” Really? How can triple negative breast cancer, the worst diagnosis you could possibly receive, be good news? The good news was it was Stage I and not the usual Stage III diagnosis.
I have worked as a college financial aid administrator for over 20 years. Professionally, I am an advocate and a mentor. I advocate for students in need; I mentor colleagues on federal rules and regulations; I assist institutions with issues of compliance. How could my two lives possibly fit together?
Since my diagnosis I have known that my story has a purpose. As I wrote back in June, I am a reluctant cheerleader. My heart tells me that I am called to tell my story. I wonder how. Wearing a pink ribbon pin and handing out pins certainly shows support. However, I find myself being a friend to those newly diagnosed. I share statistics and knowledge. I post links to news articles. I am an advocate and a mentor.
So I will continue to share my story. I will continue to support research and the foundations that provide services to uninsured and underinsured women and men. I will promote awareness in my own way. And I really do not wish October away; I just wish there was no need for a Breast Cancer Awareness month.