Cancer is a dirty word. It is a filthy, disagreeable disease that ravages its victims and takes away all dignity from not only the sufferer, but their family and friends. Given enough time on this planet, and even with no other health issues, it is commonly accepted that if you live long enough, it’ll be what kills you.
Cancer takes all sorts of forms. In my family, it has killed my my great grandfather and my grandpa. My dad has battled it. My grandmother has battled it. I fear for whoever is next. Because it is almost a certainty that one of us (at least!) will get it.
Four years ago, as I showered, I felt a lump in my armpit. It was small and hard and felt like a BB lodged under my skin. I’ll be honest and say that it didn’t worry me too much, but I did make an appointment with my doctor just to be safe. After he’d examined me, he suggested that it was likely just a cyst or inflamed gland and told me to wait a while and see if it went away. Luckily, it did.
A few months later, my friend, Charlotte, a vivacious 24 year old blonde-haired buxom beauty, had a similar experience. She came to work one day and confided that she’d felt a lump in her armpit. I suggested the same route I took – go to the doctor and get it checked, but don’t worry because it was likely nothing.
For two weeks, she came in to work, and each day I asked if she’d had it checked. She made many excuses as to why she just didn’t have time to do it – and she shrugged it off, saying that it was likely nothing – just as mine had been.
I nagged her again and again, and finally she went to the doctor. She later admitted that the lump had grown to twice the original size in those two weeks, which is the only reason she finally gave in.
Right away, she was scheduled for a biopsy, which came back positive for breast cancer. Not only that, but it was aggressive. Stage IV at 24 years old.
In the next few months this bright bubbly girl lost her entire personality, swallowed up in chemotherapy and other meds which made her sick, tired and sad. She lost her hair. She lost both breasts. And within a year, she had lost her life.
Charlotte and I were not the best of friends, and really we only knew each other a short while, each of us working for a small company and just happening to cross paths in life. By the time she had died, I had already moved on to a new role in a new company, and it was only through Facebook that I came to learn of her ultimate fate.
But that is the hard part of cancer. It affects you. Those who know you well, those who love you and those who are only on the periphery of your life. It is such a taboo subject that it will make total strangers pray for you. It makes people use words like “tragedy” or “too young” or “such a waste.”
Because that is what it is. A waste. Cancer WASTES you.
Who knows what may have been had Charlotte got checked out immediately after feeling the lump? Possibly the outcome would have been exactly the same. Or maybe it might have saved her life? We will never know. But I know that if I am ever in the same situation, I will not hesitate to get checked out.
2012 marks Ford Motor Company’s 18th year of support for the breast cancer cause. In that time, Ford has dedicated more than $115 million to the breast cancer cause.
The Ford Warriors in Pink campaign is designed to recognize the strength and courage it takes to deal with the everyday challenges of fighting breast cancer from prevention, to research to support during treatment.
When you buy Ford Warriors in Pink apparel at fordcares.com, 100 percent of the net proceeds go directly to support breast cancer awareness all year long.
Check out some of the awesome things you can buy to help support awareness of this disease.
L – R: Beautiful Dreamer PJ Pants – $24, Warrior on My Shoulder Relaxed Hoodie – $24, Circle of Hope Scarf – $34
And finally, check out the great video below to learn more: