Early Detection and Its Importance...
Hi! This is Adriana Gonzalez. I am a friend of April's, and she asked me to post a guest blog on her page on a subject that is of great importance to her, to me, to all of us, really. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which I'm sure you knew, and each year, awareness seems to be growing, which is good. A person is hard-pressed to find someone who's life hasn't been touched by cancer, and I wish cancer would quit touching me and leave me the eff alone already! :D Seriously, though, I say that, because my daughter has leukemia, and has been battling it fiercely with that little attitude of hers for two years now, and my mom is currently six years cancer free from Breast Cancer. I used caps on purpose, because it is that big of a deal. I could rattle off streams of statistics, but numbers are just that. Numbers. The truth is, that in spite of the staggering number of lives that are lost to this disease each year, the only number that will matter to you and yours is one: the number of people in YOUR life who are afflicted by it.
My mother was diagnosed in 2005. While this is staggering news for anyone, it was especially so for me. A little background: My immediate family is relatively small. My parents divorced when I was four, and my dad hasn't really been all that involved, so it's pretty much just the three of us, my mom, my brother, who is two years my junior, and me. My brother at that time had just come off a tour of duty in Aghanistan, which was nerve-wracking enough for our miniscule little family, to say the least. He made it back safely, with eight men underneath him, a highly decorated Marine Corps Sergeant. Things were just starting to settle down, and now this. Now, a little background on my mother. My mother is, by nature, something of a worry wart. She stresses out easily, and she is paranoid to the point of extreme caution, but not excessively so. The upside to this, is she is extremely good at planning, and she takes EXCELLENT care of herself. Even before she got sick, she went to the doctor A LOT. Not excessively, in a hypochondriac fashion, but when there was cause for concern, no one had to convince her to go (like, they do for some people, like, ahem! me, for example...). The day she told me, I was about to go out with a friend of mine for coffee, and she told me nonchalantly, as though nothing in the world were wrong, that she had to tell me something. Now, being her only daughter, and one of her only two children, I knew something was wrong immediately. When she said the word cancer, I immediately felt my eyes well up. Cancer is a scary word, an even scarier disease, and my mother was all I had. I didn't have a husband at that time, much less a child, and my mother and I are extremely close. In that moment, my immediate thoughts were that I would not be able to survive without her, that I didn't want to. So I asked more questions. She told me that she caught it early, at stage 0, which gave her very good odds. Finally, her "paranoia" served a purpose. It saved her life.
Not to say the following months were easy. She had surgery to remove the cancer, surgery again to reconstruct her breast, and both times she needed to be monitored at home afterward, bandages changed, wounds cleaned, and my brother and I split the duty evenly, We didn't sit down and map it out, we just both knew it had to be done, we would both get up at the same time, and one or the other of us would send the other back to bed. My mother says I surprised her in that time, because as a sensitive kid (e.g. a "crier"), she underestimated me and didn't think I would be able to handle it. To be honest, I surprised myself. She went through radiation treatments for awhile, which made her sick, took her appetite, made her irritable, and yes, I'll say it, sometimes, just downright unreasonable. But I sucked it up and did what had to be done. I even subbed for her class the entire time she was out! She's my mother. She's all I have, and she would do the same for me in a heartbeat, and has.
The moral of the story is, early detection is key. Early detection saved my mother's life. Early detection meant my mother got to dance at my wedding, sit at my bedside while I lost three babies in two years, witness the birth of my beautiful baby girl, spoil the crap out of said baby girl, and now she gets to be by my side and support me yet again while my daughter fights her own cancer, not to mention that she can provide me invaluable details about how my daughter is feeling that Sarah herself cannot provide at three years old (although anyone who knows Sarah knows she is no slouch in the verbal department! lol). It is because of my mother's experience that she convinced me to go over the pediatrician's head when the moron told me the baby was fine and I was "over-mothering". Cancer tried to steal my mom, and early detection and early treatment gave her back to me.
Believe me, I know putting your boobs in a vice is no one's idea of a good time, but it is so important. SO, SO IMPORTANT!!!! Every woman is someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's girlfriend, someone's wife, someone's best friend, someone's mother. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE wants you on this planet, and would be devastated if you weren't here anymore. Get 'em checked, Ladies. You are SO worth it!!! :)
Thank you for reading!
P.S. A few pics...
My brother, Ramon, me, and my mother, Gloria, on my wedding day, May 20, 2006
My daughter, Sarah, me, and my mother, Gloria, on my 32nd birthday, June 13, 2011, with the special Jell-o Cake she used to make every birthday when Ramon and I were kids! I think he ate about half...
Early detection gave me these moments with my mother...GET CHECKED!!!