The ‘C’ Word

Cancer. I hate fucking cancer. I fear cancer. I despise cancer. It scares me literally, physically, emotionally, and in every way imaginable. It all started when my mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I thought here is the strongest woman I know and she has cancer. If she can get it, so can I. I am her daughter. Part of her is in me.

No, my mom didn’t die from breast cancer. In fact, no woman in my mom’s family has had breast cancer. My understanding is your chances of getting breast cancer increases if there is a maternal history of the disease. But, cringe at the fact that this is not always the case. This is not always the story for women. Hence, my fear. 

 A few days ago, I had my first mammogram in two years, all because I was scared. Afraid the intruding lens of the 3D camera might find something. Scared to hear the diagnosis “Sorry, you have breast cancer.” 

 I’ve never been afraid of the discomfort of having my breasts compressed to a flatness. In my opinion it looks like a balloon pressed between two books. The only difference is if you press hard enough on the two books, the balloon will surely pop, sending shock waves through your ear.

Now, here I am waiting to get the results back. I’m not gonna lie. Since I’ve gotten a mammogram, it has consumed most of my thoughts. It’s the first thing that I think about when I lift my head from my pillow in the morning and the last thing on my mind when I lay it down at night. 

 Like most times when I am anxious about something, my stomach is like the spin cycle of a washing machine. Relentlessly turning and churning, squeezing out what remains inside of it. 

 My breasts. Every moment I get, I’m loving on them; hugging the fullness of them in my bare hands, as if to say, “I love you. Please don’t give up on me. I promise I will do a better job of taking care of you.” All while gently caressing them to feel for anything out of the ordinary. I guess I can take comfort in knowing not everyone who gets breast cancer, dies from it. 

 By letting my fear get the most of me and avoiding what I know could save my life, I may have actually increased my chances of dying from breast cancer should I have it. Do I?

Results: I don’t have it, but I’m not yet free and neither or you as long as breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women- in you, your wife, mother, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, mother-inlaws, cousins, and friends. 

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