What October Meanes to Me

by Rhonda M. Smith on October 9th, 2012
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October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Its purpose is to promote awareness of breast cancer issues and educate and empower women to take charge of their own breast health.

As I reflect on October and what it represents, it’s easy to get caught up in the month’s many fundraising activities and events, and lose sight of its real purpose.  There seems to be a party of some sort or an event almost everyday and, as great as it is, as a survivor in some ways the month can be an exhausting experience if you don’t consciously make an effort to manage the busyness of it all.

Aside from possibility of being physically worn out from attending multiple events, there’s also and emotional toll that it can take. Especially as I think about the many women who are not as fortunate as I am to still be here living life.  Or, the women who may be battling to have just one more day with the people they love.  Or, those women whose doctors have exhausted every possible treatment option to save their life but to no avail, like my friend Maria.  Maria was diagnosed with a late stage breast cancer over two years ago, which we thought was under control, but unfortunately has now metastasized throughout her body more than I care to think about.

Because of women like Maria, October for me serves as a reminder of a couple of things. One, not just this month but throughout the year we must always, always make sure that women in our lives that we love and care about get their annual mammograms, and are mindful of their breast health no matter what age they are. Two, that we as breast cancer survivors, no matter how dedicated we are to the cause or how much we work tirelessly to support it and the many activities and events October brings, we must take care of ourselves and be mindful of our own health and wellness.  This should always be our number one priority.

Let’s not only “pump up the volume” on breast cancer awareness and the importance of getting annual mammograms and early detection during October.  That’s something we should promote every month because as we know, early detection saves lives!

So, for me October is about honoring and celebrating life – the many lives that have been saved by early detection, the lives that have been lost because there is no cure, and the lives of the one in eight women who may be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  I now approach October with honor and reverence for all the beautiful, courageous women who have succumb, or have conquered and won the fight against breast cancer.  Love and hugs to all of my survivor sisters during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and every month throughout the year!

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Categories: Breast Cancer Journey

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