Most of us know a family member, a friend, or have heard of a family member or friend of a friend, who has/had cancer. I had both my ovaries removed in 1989, when it was determined that one was precancerous. Life went on, and continues to do so. I felt relieved to be free of the possibility of a future with ovarian cancer. The scar I bear, to this day, is an attribute to my decision to have the second ovary removed, so as not to be surprised down the road with ovarian cancer. The fact I had the two ovaries removed did not define who I am, but rather define who I am not. I am not one to stand back and feel sorry for myself.
My mother had Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, and had a mastectomy, to remove her entire breast along with more than a dozen of axillary lymph nodes (supraclavicular nodes, infraclavicular nodes and internal mammary nodes). She was extremely lucky to have the surgeon she did.
She survived the cancer, and when she died it was not from breast cancer or any form of cancer. She was an inspiration, forging forward, ever cognizant of life, and held a positive attitude throughout everything she encountered. For her, the loss of a breast was nothing compared to loss of life. She would look in the mirror and give thanks to G-d for allowing her to have more time with family and friends. She would look in the mirror and not let her scarred skin determine the person she was.
My first cousin died in 2008 from breast cancer. She battled it for three years. A cousin of mine died last August of lung cancer. The mother of my daughter-in-law had a lung removed due to lung cancer, and she never smoked a day in her life! One of my daughter’s coworkers has breast cancer. The cousin of one of my daughter’s coworkers has breast cancer…she is 26 years old, and needs a complete mastectomy…she feels lucky that it was found.
It has come to light that the actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy recently, due to high breast cancer risk. I applaud her for coming forth with the fact.
Other celebrities, such as Sharon Osbourne, Christina Applegate and Giulana Rancic have had mastectomies. TV host Brooke Burk-Charvet has surgery for thyroid cancer. These are just recent incidents.
I have ancestors who died of cancer…colon cancer and also pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately cancer is here to stay, and generations to come will become involved with the disease.
Cancer is not a pretty sound. Many people choose to ignore the word, others choose to fight the fight. Whatever the choice one makes, it is individual. Education regarding the various diseases that are encompassed within the cancer realm is extremely important in order to educate others so they can make informed decisions.
Tonight the festival of Shavuot begins, honoring the day G-d gave the Torah to the entire Israeli nation who were present at Mount Sinai. Take a moment, within your commemoration to reflect upon those you know, or know of, who have had cancer.
Sorry for the update…I saw an error needing correction.