Written by: Jillian Branham
Breast cancer. Cancer alone is a very terrifying word. “Breast” cancer however, just makes it feel more real. About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. However, women are not the only ones who are able to be diagnosed. It is also possible for men to develop breast cancer. Although men carry very little of women’s hormones, it is still very possible. Many families are losing loved ones left and right because of this cancer. It is proven that breast cancer is the highest ranked diagnosed cancer in the United States besides lung cancer.
In 2004, my family lost someone very special to them. My Titi Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was already at stage 4. I was only 3 when she had passed away. I was too little to really understand what was going on and now I have no memory of my Titi Connie. However, my relatives were very affected by it.
Me: How long did Titi Connie have breast cancer?
My mom: She was diagnosed with breast cancer from February 1994 to April 2004.
My Titi Connie was from my mother’s side of the family. She was my grandmother’s sister. I feel that I have missed out on one of the best people in the world from all of the stories I have been told about her. She was a young soul and a very happy person, even with breast cancer.
Me: How did the family react when it became known that she did have breast cancer?
My mom: Concerned at first but we stayed strong until the end. She was a stage 4 when they diagnosed it and she went through different trials. The trials did slow it down but nothing cured it. It was too far gone.
Me: How did you feel when you found out?
My mom: I was shocked and scared. Titi Connie was the rock of our family and all I could think about was what would we do without her. But we were fortunate that she gave us 10 more years to share with her.
Me: What does the month of October mean to you?
My mom: October is a very special month for me! It represents awareness for breast cancer for some but for most it represents the pain and suffering for a loved one’s journey with breast cancer! I love that there is a special month for awareness but I feel that everyday women should be aware of the importance of getting the annual tests and getting their annual mammograms to catch it in the early stages and possibly having a successful outcome.
A couple of years ago, my nana also developed breast cancer. I remember hiding in my room and crying because I never want to lose her. The doctors were able to catch the breast cancer before it got too traumatic however. My nana is such an amazing and strong woman and has been her entire life. I have felt very grateful, more than I ever did before, to have her in my life and to have her care so much for our family.
Breast cancer will unfortunately still be around to hurt our loved ones but that does not mean that there is nothing we can do. Today, there are many foundations who fundraise constantly to help support people with breast cancer, and the research of curing cancer. All of the world will always remember the loved ones who were lost and taken from us.