I met up with a facebook friend who had moved back to Philly last summer. We both attended a networking event, recognized each other and sat together during the television taping portion of the event. She shared with me that she had a lump in her breast and that she let it go unchecked for several months. She was about to start treatment and had changed her diet and was very hopeful that she would be ok.
We stayed in touch for the next few months, then in October, I didn't see much fb posting and didn't receive emails. I only called once and left a message. I must admit that that was selfish of me. You see, I could see us becoming good friends; she reminded me so much of a good friend that I lost to cancer in 2006. I couldn't bear the thought of getting close to someone else who would all of a sudden be gone again. I never called again.
She had been heavy on my mind over the holidays; but again, I got busy and didn't reach out. Then last week I called and left a message. When she didn't return my call I visited her facebook page. There were lots of posts from people giving her shout outs and accolades...then one post said RIP. I was shocked and deeply saddened.
It had only been five months since we met in person. She was alive, vibrant and hopeful. Five months later she was dead from breast cancer. I can't help but to wonder if she had gone to get that lump checked out immediately, if she migh still be living. My guess is yes.
Early detection is key. It is one of the main reasons why African American women die at a much higher rate from this disease than other ethnicities.
Many of you know that my mom was an 18 year breast cancer survivor. My aunt, her sister, was also a survivor. My great aunt is also a survivor. Now I have a cousin who is surviving. this thing is for real, and it is quick. So ladies (and gentlemen too) PLEASE check your breast frequently. PLEASE have ANY abnormality checked out immediately...even if you don't have health insurance. There are many places where you can get a free mammogram. There are also place that offer free treatments for breast cancer.
Let's not just be aware of breast cancer and it's consequences during the month of October. Breast cancer kills all year long.