With Breast Cancer awareness month upon us and just passing the 1 year mark of losing my mother to this awful disease October has been a super emotional month for me. I have been told that I am one of those people who suppresses feelings and just goes on. So maybe it is all just catching up to me? Maybe reality is just starting to hit me? Maybe all this talk about Breast Cancer is just too much? Maybe it was sick dementia’d patient I had the other day who spent her whole hour with me asking for her daughter? Or maybe it is the combination of all of these things… No matter the cause I miss my mom. Not only do I miss all of the great things that we all love about our moms but I also miss arguing with her, I miss being annoyed with her, I miss taking her to the doctors, I miss her inappropriate table manners, I miss all of the things that I thought were so awful when she was here. I spend a lot of time yelling at myself telling me that I should have appreciated those things when I had her here.
What does this have to do with hiking? Well, as it turns out… My momma was quite the fighter. She fought Breast Cancer until the last minute of her life. She taught me many lessons in the last few years of her life. Many of them come out in little nuggets when I least expect them. On those days were I feel like I just want to give up. On those days when we venture off on a hike that is a lot tougher or longer than expected my momma some times shows up in my mind. Not the cheerleader like you would expect but as the sickly lady who looked much older than she was, in her hospital bed, barely conscious but still fighting. There were several times in the last few years of her life that the odds were stacked against her. Times when the Drs. thought we might never get to take her home. Times when I had given up and started to mentally prepare myself for the loss. But all of those times (except for the last) she made it home. She fought the cancer in her body, she fought her extremely low immune system and she fought the odds that the Drs. gave her. She made it through time and time again. And if she could fight those odds why can’t I fight a little hike in the woods?
One of the things that I have not been able to do is walk or run the Breast Cancer walk. Emotionally it is just too soon and too hard for me to do at this time. However, my brother will be walking with his family. While Breast Cancer Research did not advance far enough to save my mother, my brother is hoping that by walking he can help save someone else’s mother/daughter/wife/sister/friend. Susan J Komen foundation is currently excepting donations to help this happen.
If you would like to make a small donation to my brothers team please follow the link below:
or better yet…………
If you would like to start your own team and raise money for a Susan J Komen follow this link:
The statistics show that you have or know someone who has been effected by Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2013 are:
- About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer
After increasing for more than 2 decades, female breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in 2000, then dropped by about 7% from 2002 to 2003. This large decrease was thought to be due to the decline in use of hormone therapy after menopause that occurred after the results of the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. This study linked the use of hormone therapy to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart diseases. Incidence rates have been stable in recent years.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%). Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.
At this time there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. (This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.)
We all have heard that early detection is key but did you know that in addition to mammograms there are other things that we can do to avoid being part of the statistics listed above?