Blogging for your boobies, cancer survivors and lost innovators

October 6, 2011 at 7:49 am | Posted in Life and Living | 1 Comment
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It’s that time of year again where women (and men) all over the country are taking action to raise awareness of breast cancer.  I am once again taking the pledge to blog about this topic.  But of course, I can’t just look at it from the angle I did last year.  This year, I am going to focus on the realities of cancer and the effects it has on those close to those diagnosed.

I was going to blog about a movie I saw recently: 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Joseph stars as the 27 year old who gets a rare form of cancer on his spine, and Seth is supportive (albeit super horny) friend.   But with the news of Steve Jobs passing I thought a real life example was important to point out.

Anyone can get cancer.  Cancer doesn’t care what else you have going on in your life.  Cancer doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, have a support network or don’t, have access to health care or not.  Cancer doesn’t care if you are the greatest innovator of your time.  You can do everything in your power to avoid getting cancer — from proven theories like not smoking to avoid lung cancer to not tanning to avoid skin cancer — to theories like avoid specific foods.    Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter.  But that doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life.  You can’t live in fear of what may happen and living an overly cautious life is really not living at all.

But I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.  What I do know is this.  Cancer doesn’t only effect the ill.  It effects everyone who cares about you, (and well, in Jobs case, the world at large).  And everyone copes differently.  Some people make jokes to lighten the mood, some people get angry, some people just freak out.  But far too many just give up all together.  Dealing with cancer is hard and painful.  It can be a long battle with highs and lows.  You may think you are just not strong enough to get through it, that your chances are just not good enough.  You may be right.  But you may also beat this thing and get hit by a car the next day.  Life is like that.

But you have to stay strong.  You have to fight.  Life is worth it.  And when you think you aren’t strong enough to fight for yourself, fight for those you love.

And educate yourself.  Know what you can do to treat it.  Get regular check ups.  If something seems really off, don’t wait.

Not everyone will survive.  Not yet.  But a lot of people will, and are.  If you win this battle, it will be the greatest battle of your life, and you can proudly call yourself a survivor.

Although Jobs has passed, he survives through his legacy — changing the world.  Rest in peace.

My Boobies and Me

October 5, 2010 at 7:36 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 11 Comments
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In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am taking the pledge to blog for my breasts.  Now is as good a time as any to talk about what breasts have meant to me since I first sprouted and how I view them today.

I remember bra shopping with my mom in 8th grade.  I don’t really remember being too uncomfortable with this.  I didn’t have enormous boobs and I imagine the girls that developed large breasts had more discomfort than I did.  I was, however self-conscious about having small boobs, so when I bought that 34B and my mom said, “You’ll probably be this size for a while,” it was a major let down.  Isn’t bigger better?  That’s what society tells me.  And now I’ll never be bigger, I thought.

Let’s back up two years from this time to 6th grade — the year my grandmother died.  My grandmother was a cute little red headed woman with an apartment in the Bronx that had a piano, a tiny kitchen where she cooked amazing meals, and a den where we used to play card games.  One of the last times I remember visiting my grandmother, I saw her red wig in her bedroom, and this scared the hell out of me.  My grandmother had been suffering from breast cancer and had lost her hair.  I was too young to make the connection that while I was just beginning to develop that which symbolizes my femininity, my grandmother was fighting for her life because something had gone horribly wrong with that which symbolized hers.

Fast forward to my twenties.  Mom had been right that I would remain the same size for a while, but not forever.  I did continue to grow well into my twenties.  I’ve also now seen how other women feel about their breasts.  I’ve seen women who hate their large breasts, women so insecure with their size that they get implants, bras that give the illusion of bigger or perkier breasts.  While a lot of the pressure may seem to come from men, and maybe the fashion and entertainment industries regarding this feature, it’s really something we do to ourselves at the end of the day.  There’s not enough confident women out there.

What also went along with me growing up was the increase of attention and advocacy for breast cancer research.  There have been great improvements in the medical treatment options for breast cancer patients and the survival statistics have very much improved.  So when another person close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, I was confident that she would pull through, and she did, with flying colors, and minimal treatment.  I am proud to say that this person is a breast cancer survivor.

Women will always have a love/hate relationship with their breasts, and our breasts will continue to be connected to what makes us feel like women, but they do not define who we are as people.  In memory of those who lost the battle against breast cancer and in honor of those who won, we can all unite and stand up against this terrible disease to find a cure.

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