Let’s aBREAST the Situation
October is the mecca for a plethora of awarenesses and causes, but it’s most commonly known for breast cancer awareness. We all know someone directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer. There are many forms of breast cancer and I think the different types get lost in the awareness of the month. This is unfortunate, we need clarity and understanding of all forms of breast cancer, as it further educates us and helps prevention.
I always knew breast cancer sucked but I never took the time to truly educate myself. Every year, I pass doctor’s offices encouraging women to get mammograms and breast exams but still, I figured, I was too young to entertain the thought of breast cancer. Until recently, I thought a mammogram and breast exam were the same thing.
It was this year, that I decided to change my mind. While scrolling down my Instagram timeline, I saw a picture of my friend. She had one breast. Positive that my eyes were deceiving me, I examined the picture further. My eyes weren’t deceiving me. My friend, Jaymonroe has angiosarcoma breast cancer. The idea of someone so young, so vibrant and pretty healthy; having cancer scared the hell out of me.
To make things worst, I encountered another beautiful woman, Ella, who is also fighting breast cancer( Metastatic breast cancer ) She shares a similar story. When I learned that these women suffering this horrible disease we’re all around healthy until now, it scared me. Tv and media always make it seem like the people mostly getting breast cancer are those who live unhealthy lifestyles and this just isn’t true.
I continued life after this news paranoid. “How did this happen,” I thought. I had so many questions.
I began to obsess over my own breast–a lot. So, I schedule an appointment with my doctor and she told me…
I have Fibrocystic breast disease. “What is that,” I asked? It’s a condition that causes lumpy texture in the breast. It’s non-cancerous and caused by hormone changes–like when you’re on your period. Breast fibroids can cause tenderness in the breast which is what alarmed me. It’s extremely common,especially in black women.
Turns out, my caffeine intake could affect and even agitate the fibroids so I’ve decided to quit coffee cold-turkey. I also learned in detail how to conduct breast exams on myself. I was advised to monitor the lumpiness in my breast to make sure the lumps didn’t harden, cause discoloration, change appearance or hurt.
Leaving my doctor’s office with this new news left me feeling blessed. I can’t fathom what’s it’s like receiving the heartbreaking news that, “you have breast cancer.” All I could do is praise Jesus that I and my breast are totally fine.
A lot of women don’t take their breast and their wellbeing seriously. I get it. Breast are literal lumps of fat hanging from our bodies. Other than finding the right bras to lift them, we usually don’t think about them too much. I want to change that mindset. I want to dead the idea that breast cancer considers age, race, gender, or lifestyle. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate and I want you, us to be properly educated.
“I want people to know the truth. Breast cancer is real,” Jaymonroe wrote on my insta stories.
My friend Jay, shared a couple pictures, journaling her days leading up to her diagnosis. Pictures of what looked like a bug bite filled my eyes from my phone screen. She didn’t think that bump was cancer and as the other person looking at what she saw, I could see why. It literally looked like a bruised mosquito bite on her breast.
Jay described what she thought to be a bruise on her breast as painful; so painful, she wanted her entire breast removed. Little did she know, that was already her fate.
Sharing her story and so candidly on her social media pages is beyond inspiring. Even with all she’s battling, she still chooses to help, uplift and educate others.
Ms. Ella is quite vocal about her fight on social media too. Both women speak with such love and concern for their community–they are our community’s WonderWomen.
“You never get use to the fight,” Ella said. “People think it’s a daily struggle to find motivation but, I struggle hourly.”
Ella described daily task like bathing or leaving the house as torturous. She explained that medicines and chemo are harder on the body than movies and television display.
“The water burns my skin,” Ella said. “Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed,” she added.
These are two different women with two different stories, conveying the same passionate message; “Get your breast examined!”
I don’t have a scripture or any magical quote that explains why cancer exist or why it attacks the ones we love; but I have a voice– a voice I’d like to use to say, monitor your breast! Many women who fail to conduct monthly breast exams suffer with cancer unknowingly, making survival questionable.
Get your breast checked! Conduct your own breast exams.
Cancer is only as scary as we allow it to be. I have faith that we will find a cure, maybe even a vaccine, but for now, book an appointment with your doctor and save the ta tas!
To Ms. Ella and Jay, we lift you guys up in prayer and support! You 👏🏿will 👏🏿beat 👏🏿cancer👏🏿 and when you do, we’ll be there cheering you on!
“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.”