Carolyn's Battle with Breast Cancer
by, 10-07-2009 at 04:45 PM (8924 Views)
When I think of Carolyn, I remember her smile and her courage. Hobbled by breast cancer for years, it could not suppress her spirit.
I think about her especially during October-- National Breast Cancer Awareness monthwhen we are reminded once again by the National Breast Cancer Foundation of how important early detection is.
Carolyn was my brother-in-laws older sister. I had long admired her when I was growing up in our small town in Iowa. In my eyes, Carolyn had it all. She was vivacious, smart as a whip, attractive, and accomplished. The fact that she was three years older than me added to my sense of awe.
Carolyn lived with cancer as if she were disease- and pain-free. She ran her business as the publisher/editor/writer/proofreader/go-fer of a small-town newspaper up until the end. Whether it was organizing a parade, traveling the world, loving her family, or laughing with her friends, nothingnot even cancerstopped her.
I remember the last time I saw Carolyn. The cancer had metastasized to her bones and the pain was excruciating. Her feet and legs were shriveled and purple, but she still retained that indomitable smile. Her trademark curiosity and intellect still perked within, even as her body betrayed her.
Meeting for the last time, she showed me a newly framed photo. There was Carolyn, decked out in leather pants and motorcycle jacket, perched on a Harley Davidson. Her hair had been spiked and dyed blue by her friends, who had taken this photo, proclaiming it to be the real Carolyn.
That photo exemplifies how I remember Carolyn. Despite the nuisance of breast cancer, she lived her life with gusto and flair.
As nurses, I think most of us have been touched by the scourge of breast cancer, just as Carolyns struggle affected me. But, as nurses, who is better than we are to advocate for early detection? We need to tell the world that breast awareness through education, breast self exam, and mammograms can make a difference in length and quality of life.
The world has lost too many Carolyns for us not to do something to curtail this dreaded disease. Not only in October, but all through the year, lets be aware that early detection of breast cancer can save lives. If we can save even one person from what Carolyn endured, either directly or indirectly, we will have succeeded.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc is a charitable non-profit organization based in Frisco, Texas. Its campaign every October, National Breast Cancer Awareness month, is their effort to promote its Early Detection Program. NBCFs mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need.
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