Today, I’m revealing the final lesson I learned as a breast cancer survivor for the last post of Breast Cancer Awareness month. But, first, here’s a little about my personal story.
As a survivor, this month is always bitter-sweet for me. It’s a reminder of the darkest time in my life. Yet, it elicits true gratitude for the blessing of survival and the people who carried me through it. Every October, my instincts are to remember and be grateful in the same way I fought breast cancer – privately. But, I think most survivors feel as I do, that we have an obligation – to our sisters who are no longer here to speak to it and those who do not yet know they too will fight it – to be leading voices in honoring, supporting, educating, encouraging and fighting breast cancer.
As a fitness professional, there’s an added responsibility to speak to the importance of regular screening for breast cancer specifically and all health screening generally. Taken together, there’s no escaping the necessity for me to merge my personal breast cancer experience with my fitness expertise to share with you what I’ve learned.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT
My friend’s barely-perceptible tumor was discovered only after several mammograms and ultrasounds. The reason for the multiple tests? She just knew in her gut something wasn’t right. And she had a doctor who listened to her, trusted her instincts and advocated for her.
Lesson #4: Self-knowledge and intuition are vital in the fight against breast cancer.
Breast cancer is an ugly, horrible, terrifying thing. But more women (and men) than ever are surviving and thriving despite this disease. And, I have no doubt that Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Susan G Komen Foundation and the Avon Walk are among the many reasons for this.
Ladies, self-screen and get screened, encourage the women in your life to do the same and give to the cause in any way you’re able. Gentlemen, for the sake of your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, encourage screenings and give to breast cancer research.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. Which means, breast cancer will eventually affect all of us, male or female, in one way or another. Let’s do what we can to honor those who fought valiantly, support those who still fight and find a cure to spare the next generation the scourge of this terrible disease. Click here to donate.