Saturday, October 10, 2009
A Pink Post
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.. but of course you already knew that. On December 26th, I will be a 14 year hereditary breast cancer survivor, as such, my awareness will continue, throughout the calendar year.
I am enormously grateful, however, that this has become an international effort, with dozens of beauty companies donating proceeds to research and support. Keep your your eyes peeled for some fabulous offers from Estee Lauder, Bobbie Brown, Prescriptives, Aveda, Philosophy, Elemis, Korres, Dial Soap and many others.
In addition Bright Pink, an organization devoted to high risk young women, has some very chic fashion sponsors. My own choice, will be to support FORCE, founded by Sue Friedman. FORCE was the first Internet support group devoted to the breast and ovarian cancer high risk community. It is my daily touchstone.
I was asked this week, to speak to the Jr. Committee of the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greenwich, Ct. This amazing group of young women (and men)!, has raised over $130,000 in just a few short years! They wanted to meet a "survivor" and I struggled with what I could share, that might interest them.
When you have a health crisis that causes you to face your mortality, it forever changes you. While you would never wish adversity on anyone, you do wish you could teach the world a little bit of what you have learned. Here are a few of the things that I shared with my young audience:
Family and Friends- You will learn quickly, who can be strong for you and who you need to be strong for. It is a defining moment, which will be enlightening. You will come away knowing just who your good friends are and who you will be leaving behind.
Be Your Own Advocate-- As a patient and in life. Do not be afraid to calmly and constructively tell (or write) someone who has hurt or offended you about how that experience has impacted you. There is little downside and amends and closure can be healing. Conversely, if someone has helped you immensely, do express your gratitude in a heartfelt note...you will both feel good.
Support- Don't go it alone! Bring a loved one with you to appointments and tests. Find a support group that you can relate to online or in person. There is tremendous relief and camaraderie in finding people who really know exactly what you are going through.
Follow Your Gut Instincts- They will rarely fail you. Ask yourself, when confronted with difficult decisions, if your inaction will lead to regrets and act accordingly.
My Two Favorite Cliches- "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" and "Stop and Smell the Roses". Don't waste time fretting, coveting, gossiping or obsessing over NONSENSE!!! Drop all that baggage and you will be a kinder, happier, healthier person. Slow down and appreciate nature and the beauty of the seasons changing. Indulge your senses by taking the time to really see, smell and taste the things you are fortunate enough to be here to enjoy.
As I looked at all of those young, beautiful faces, I had no idea if any of my words resonated. If I could sprinkle some fairy dust and get my wish, it would be that they would glean from what I learned, without ever having to hear the words, "your tumor is malignant".
Love and good health to all.