Wednesday, December 2, 2009
"Oh, yeah? Well, at least my mom doesn't have only one boob."
Ouch. Children can be cruel. It's tough to be the kid on the playground whose mother, just a few days after her 37th birthday, found a lump in her breast.
I know because I was that kid. Less than a month after my dad, my then-seven-year-old sister and I got the news, my mom was on the operating table. For three months after that, she practically lived on our bathroom floor, weakened by chemotherapy. Then it was daily radiation treatments for a full six weeks.
I was on the brink of my teen years then, and to say that I had started early on the era of self-absorption kids that age have been making infamous for, well, ever, would be the understatement of the century. I remember being more concerned that my dad would cook dinner for those three months than I was about my mom's illness, her hair loss or the chances that her cancer might have spread before she saw the doctor.
Actually, I don't remember much about the time when my mom was sick. I was young. So was my mom. In writing all of this, that's my point.
Ladies, you're never too young to defend yourself against breast cancer. Just because your kids are in elementary school, like my sister and I were when our mom was diagnosed, or are even younger, doesn't exempt you. A monthly reminder to do your self-exam is your first and most powerful weapon against this sickness.
In case you managed to not hear of Breast Impressions over the course of the last several months, the time when the organization was touting its fundraising auction with a set of local celebrity breast castings as the main prize, here's their deal: The group, headed by the delightful and witty Judi Grove, offers casting kits of women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The cast serves as a woman's memory of her body before breast surgery. Since Breast Impressions got off the ground in 2007, more than 180 casting kits have been sent free of charge to women around the world.
Part of how Breast Impressions gets money to distribute these casting kits it through the sales of its annual calendar, showcasing breast cancer survivors who tell their stories.
This pretty lady on the pink Tulsa Townie is Carrie. Carrie is two years older than me. When she was 24, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first, doctors told her the mass she felt inside her breast was nothing to worry about, given her age.
Breast cancer doesn't give a rip how old you are, girls. Whether you're 28 or 68, you should feel your boobies, and often. Then, trust in your instincts.
Each month of the calendar features a different survivor and her story, along with a monthly reminder to do a breast self-exam. The photos, by photographer Carol Curry, are stunning. The calendar design, by Shawn Brett of Blue Bottle Designs, ain't half bad, either.
Ladies, in less than a month, you'll need a new calendar anyway. Why not choose one that might save your life? I don't know about you all, but I'd trade calendars full of puppies and kittens and babies in vegetable costumes for a few extra days here on earth terrorizing you fine people any day. Plus, at $10 a pop, they're a bargain.
To get yours and to stock up for Christmas, visit breastimpressionscalendar.com.
Mom, I guess I just spilled the beans about one of your Christmas gifts, huh? At least now you won't have to shake as many boxes when you're here babysitting. (My mom, she's always been a box-shaker - even the year we could have seen ourselves opening presents in the reflection off her head.)
Breast Impressions, Inc.
4645 S. Vandalia Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74135
$10, plus $1.75 for shipping (contact Judi for shipping on quantities greater than one)