If you were around at the beginning of April 2014, you know about a little thing Hot Mess Mom called #Underboobpalooza. Maybe you noticed - it had FB buzz for a few days. It was a funny way to go about raising awareness and money for breast cancer research.
I love to find the silver linings, so I shared, posted, and prodded at folks to participate in this serious silliness. I also vowed to post my own #underboob on my FB page when the goal was met. That looked a little something like this:
As promised, check out #TheDoctor Potato Head lending his support for HMM's Underboobpalooza.
In fact, he's also supporting the site of one of my very own surgical biopsy scars.
So far I've been #cancerfree, but this disease gallops through my family. While Hot Mess Mom put the fun in this fundraiser - this campaign has also been very personal. It was important for me to lend my voice via this page & I greatly appreciate your support.
The initial goal for this one-week campaign of $10,000+ for breast cancer research was reached today, & HMM's Underboobpalooza page will remain active. You can also be sure come October I will be out waiving a pink flag to raise awareness & dollars.
Being a part of this fundraiser sparked something in me, and I although I didn't know it until I was typing that status I had decided that I NEEDED to do more.
I've known about breast cancer all my life, literally. My grandmother, and both her daughters - my mom and my aunt - all had breast cancer, each with different outcomes. While they didn't all die from the cancer, all of them are gone now. Unfortunately I don't really have their medical history, and know much less about the cancer history of our extended family.
Honestly, when I was young I was happy enough not to know details. Because - seriously - cancer is scary.
I knew enough to know that I had a target on my back.
Before I was 30, when a doctor was alarmed and wanted first a sonogram, then a needle biopsy I knew I would say yes. I knew when the oncologist took one look at my chart and asked if she could schedule a surgical biopsy right away - just days before Christmas - that I could not think twice. Thankfully, I also soon knew the undeniable relief of hearing the results were clear.
In the years following my biopsies I was encouraged to get genetic testing. I balked. I couldn't wrap my brain around why I would do it. As I couldn't see myself having preventative mastectomies. Wouldn't I just be getting a more detailed look at the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head? No, thanks, I'll just wait 'til it falls.
Of course, I was young and all those ladies in my family were still alive. Plenty of time to worry about it later. Get more info from the women who had lived to tell the tale... But like the testing, I put off the hard conversations and then it was too late.
Mom and my aunt died six months apart; they have been gone almost a decade. When my grandmother lost both her daughters, not terribly long after her husband died, she understandably let most painful things retreat from her mind.
So, there I was: Last woman standing. Alone, being the only female of my generation to blossom on that branch of the family tree.
I admit to getting pissed off about my own naïveté, as well as the way my family handled the subject. I should know more. And they should be here to tell their stories and guide me.
So few months back I had a mammogram. And then immediately a sonogram. Bonus - I'm also one of those lucky ladies for whom such diagnostic tools are almost inconclusive. So while neither showed anything of any real concern, again doctors have strongly urged me to get genetic testing. ASAP.
I'm 2 months away from my 40th birthday. My family history is scary and I have a decision to make. Because now I'm a mom and an aunt. I have a daughter, as does my brother. So I'm thinking I need to learn all I can so they can have answers.
Wow - What in the hell does ALL of that have to do with Wearing Pink on Wednesdays?
Well just this: #Underboobpalooza made me realize that I needed to stop ignoring the Scary Sword of Cancer. I needed to reach up and grab it.
Oddly, or perhaps not so unpredictably, when I reached out the first thing my brain grabbed was that movie quote. And it just clicked:
- I will wear pink on Wednesdays to remind myself that I AM IN the fight against breast cancer.
- I wear pink because I will face my fears & I will fight like a girl.
- I wear pink to honor all the women I know who have had to take up the fight against breast cancer.