Welcome once again to Beverly’s Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet The Sound. Be sure to stop by and join in the fun each Saturday with some beautiful posts from individuals around the world! Linking begins at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) every Friday and the fun continues through midnight Sunday evening.
I must first apologize to all the wonderful people who do participate in this weekly event. My phone/internet/cable service went out and I was unable to visit last week’s participants. For those of you that left a comment on my blog post, thank you. I will visit you back as soon as I have a moment this weekend!
This week’s post is about Breast Cancer Awareness and cancer awareness in general. As I am preparing this post without internet access (in anticipation of it being repaired on Friday, October 26th) this post is from the heart and not a compilation of Breast Cancer Awareness celebrations around the world.
I honestly do not know of anyone who has not been touched by breast cancer in one form or another – be it a family member or a friend or a relative – the sad truth is that we all know at least one person who has battled this terrible disease. Some have won the battle and have been cancer-free for a number of years, and still, others have lost the fight and gone home. It is something that has (unfortunately) become as common (and commercialized) as Halloween and Christmas.
I am all for publicly fighting for a cure of cancer – in any form. I believe that every little post, event, television commercial, newspaper article – all of it – helps to bring us just one step closer to finding a cure for breast cancer. Awareness is key, in any fight … getting people to understand how it happens, why it happens, what to do to help protect yourself in any manner possible from having to go through it.
There is one thing that seriously bothers me about Breast Cancer Awareness month, however – in much the same manner that it totally pisses me off when I see Christmas decorations in the stores before Thanksgiving has even arrived. There is a time and a place for everything. October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month, so keep the events, advertisements, blog posts walks and other events in October for the cause that they are for.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. It is the time to wear the gold ribbon and fight to raise awareness for this devastating disease that tears apart our children and ravages their bodies, that destroys marriages and families due to the expensive treatments needed and the countless trips to the specialists and the medications and the chemotherapy.
Dear friends of mine – the Childress family – lost their son, Elric, to cancer on September 9, 2012, due to DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). He was diagnosed with DIPG on October 9, 2009. DIPG tumors are located in the middle of the brain stem (the bottom-most portion of the brain) which connects the cerebrum with the spinal cord and because they grow amidst the nerves, they are inoperable. Being diagnosed with DIPG is a death sentence – plain and simple.
The Childress’ have tirelessly campaigned to bring awareness to Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and continue to do so even more so now with Elric’s passing, as well as all other catastrophic illnesses that affect our children and our families. Helping Mr. Elric and Friends is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about all catastrophic childhood illnesses, educating the general public, and providing a support system and community for families facing these illnesses. I prepared a tribute to Elric post for this amazing young man who touched so many lives in the ten short years he was on this earth, along with providing his mother’s perspective and his father’s perspective on how childhood cancer (indeed, any catastrophic illness) affects a family unit and the parents individually.
The entire month of September however, that should have been dedicated to wearing the gold to show support for this worthy cause, was overshadowed by all of the Breast Cancer Awareness posts and events being advertised that would be occurring in October.
I have a nine-year-old son and an (almost) thirteen-year-old son. Elric was just ten years old when he passed. Just the thought of either of my children being diagnosed with a catastrophic illness like Elric strikes fear and panic in my heart. As much as they drive me absolutely insane some days – I cannot imagine my life without them. I do not know that I would have the strength to carry on if I lost one of them. I thank God constantly for allowing me to have three beautiful children who have not had to go through anything like this, and I will continue to pray for them and thank God for three healthy children until my dying day.
I have been touched by breast cancer as well – not personally (thank you Lord!) – but my maternal grandmother, Anna, passed from breast cancer on April 6, 1967, two months after I was born. She held on till she could see her first grandchild be born, much as my paternal grandmother, Betty, did with my sister. Betty was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early months of 1982. My sister was born in April, and she held on to her life, fighting enormous and constant pain, until my sister was born and baptized and passed on July 20, 1982. I never had the chance to meet Anna, but Betty was literally my world for many years and my second mom. I spent every moment after school at her home with her and every summer – the minute school let out, I was at the farm with my grandparents and stayed with them all summer long until it was time to start school again in September.
Watching my beloved Nana go from the vibrant, elegant, genteel woman that she was to a withered shell of her former self nearly drove me insane. I think I did lose it there for a while for a few months after her death. I cursed God for taking her from me, for having her go through that pain and agony for so many months – even the massive amounts of morphine that she was given didn’t help take the pain away. I absolutely hated God at that point in my life. Wanted nothing to do with Him. Having my baby sister there was the only thing that kept me from completely losing my mind.
I had prayed and prayed for years that my parents would have another child and that it would be a girl. I wanted a sister so badly. I have a younger brother, who I do love dearly, but having a brother just isn’t the same as having a sister. Sisters have this special bond that just can’t be broken – no matter what happens. My sister and I have fought and not spoken to each other for months – but we always wind up gravitating back to each other and our bond just becomes that much stronger each time.
I eventually understood that life and death is a cycle that we all must endure at one point or another in our lives, and I renewed my faith in God and allowed Him back into my life once again. It also taught me that awareness is so desperately needed throughout the world to all the various forms of cancer that take loved ones from our side before their time.
My point in this post is this – there are various forms of cancer and other catastrophic illnesses that also deserve all of our support and recognition – in the same manner, that Breast Cancer Awareness is given. So please continue to walk for a cure, wear your pink ribbon proudly, donate to the charities that are fighting to find a cure for this horrible disease … but please remember to support the other cancer awareness months throughout the year with the same enthusiasm and support and media attention that is afforded to Breast Cancer Awareness.
The life you save could be your own.