Girl Talk: Breast cancer is scary, but many strong survivors lead the fight against the disease
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although some of us wear pink all year long, this is the month we stand united and fight for a cure. This horrible disease has ruined so many lives all over the world, but in our area specifically, the number of cases is heart wrenching.
Like many others, I have attended the benefits, dyed my hair pink, walked in charity walks and worn a ribbon over my heart. I stand in solidarity with those who are fighters of this disease. I stand because I want there to be a cure. I stand because my family and friends have been affected. I stand because I am scared.
I have seen lives ruined first hand by breast cancer. My grandmother, the glue that held our family together came out one day with the news that she was diagnosed with it. She fought hard through the chemotherapy treatments, losing her hair, losing so much weight as a side effect, losing a part of who she was. Even still, after all of the losing she endured, she came out a winner and beat cancer. She has hit the 5-year mark of being cancer free, and I am so thankful every day for that.
My mother, my role model and the guidance in my life, also had a scare with some questionable lumps that had to be removed. There was nothing scarier than thinking I could wake up one day and not have my mother in my life. It made me so angry to think that someone who exercises regularly, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, eats moderately healthy and sees her doctor regularly could still be “picked” for this disease. Cancer does not discriminate, and that scares the living hell out of me.
I am terrified. My doctor has me listed as high risk due to family history, so I look down at my chest every morning in fear that there may be two ticking time bombs staring me back in the face. I look at my grandmother and mother with great admiration. I pray to have their strength and courage. I pray for a breakthrough medically. I pray for a cure.
So, in solidarity with you, I stand, I walk, I raise funds, I dye, I support. What else can I do? How can I help fight this disease? I implore you all to get your yearly exams. I beg you to look once a month at yourself and to see a doctor right away if there is anything questionable. Early detection is the key. Squeeze your boobs, it may save your life.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.