Applying quadratic equations and finding the Latin root to common English words is hard on a good day, but doing it the day my mom had surgery was impossible. Instead of answering the questions, I made a pretty design out of the circles on the Scantron and took my chances at getting a decent score on the ACT.
Ya know how people say junior year of high school is the hardest? Well for me, it was life changing. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and back then, that felt like a death sentence.
She was a Registered Nurse… super smart too… and she knew chemo could kill her good cells along with the bad, so against her doctor’s orders, she stopped chemo after her second round and turned to nature to cure her cancer.
Keep in mind, this was a long time ago and I’m not recommending you ignore your doc!
But after years of botched treatments for thyroid disease and feeling more like a guinea pig than a patient, she started to question everything her doctors told her.
So when she got her breast cancer diagnosis, she did intense research on the disease. She’d come across a study that claimed a heavy dose of raw, fresh-made, natural foods could cure her so she committed herself… and us… to that diet and I haven’t had red meat since.
My dad, one sister and I were the only ones left at home and we ate what she ate; raw fruits and vegetables, tofu that tasted like nothing and brown yogurt homegrown on the kitchen windowsill. This was way before Impossible Burgers and other pre-packaged veggie options. We forced down some pretty weird and unpleasant food but we were committed to supporting my mom and it paid off. She ended up living a lot longer than the 6 months her doctors predicted and beat her breast cancer.
Her experience changed the way I looked at food and I quickly realized everything we eat has an effect on our bodies. Current science tells us everything we do, or don’t do, has an effect too. My dad was a big walker but my mom hated exercise. She knew she should have done more of it and she admired women who could jump rope and do yoga well into their 50’s but she never liked working out. She’d complain exercise hurt and even though she’d read it could reduce her pain, she just couldn’t psyche herself up to exercise consistently.
Today we know exercise and keeping belly fat at bay is one way to reduce our risk of getting breast cancer. In 2018, Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, a professor of medicine and associate director of cancer prevention at the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York completed a study on the correlation of body fat with breast cancer. He found that women “with the most trunk fat were 1.89 times as likely as those who had the least fat in this region to develop invasive breast cancer.” Damn! One more reason not to eat that black & white cookie and do that HIIT workout instead.
Research like this might have changed my mom’s take on exercise and even motivated her to do more.
Getting a breast cancer diagnosis 40 some years ago was terrifying. Surgeons didn’t know if the type of cancer they removed would kill you or if by some miracle, like my mom’s, you’d live.
They treated every case the same because they couldn’t tell the difference between a terminal tumor and a curable one.
Thanks to more awareness and science being devoted to breast cancer, we’ve been able to advance treating it and finding more ways to prevent it but our work is far from done.
Sure, we’ve come a long way since my mom was diagnosed, but until breast cancer is cured, we can’t give up. Even with advances in surgeries, chemotherapies, hormone therapies, radiation and biological therapies… which are incredibly cool… we still need to do more to wipe it out. That’s why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still so important.
I’ve said it before but my mom was way ahead of her time in so many ways. She declined chemo knowing for her, it would do more harm than good and I can’t help but wonder if the oncologists of today would’ve agreed with her. Still, we have a long way to go.
Believe it or not, with the exception of skin cancer, “breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Deaths from breast cancer have declined over time, but remain the second leading cause of cancer death among women overall and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women.
Each year in the United States, about 245,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,200 in men. About 41,000 women and 460 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. Over the last decade, the rate of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the rate has increased for black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher rate of death from breast cancer than white women.”
Those statistics are staggering. I used to watch Dr. McCoy on Star Trek cure all diseases with one swipe of his magnetic wand and I’m kind of surprised we’re still dealing with diseases like breast cancer. You’d think we’d be farther along.
That’s why I urge you to stay vigilant and support those finding cures and preventative measures that keep breast cancer at bay.
Staying on top of this disease is the only way to combat it.
As for my ACT score?
I don’t think anyone else appreciated my Scantron art and needless to say, my score was far from good enough to get me into college.
Let’s just say I’m grateful for second chances and thanks to research, my mom and I both got one of those that year.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
Spread awareness with ME!
As a thank you for supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month,
we’ll give you a FREE PRINTED PANTY
when you purchase 3 Organic or Printed Comfort Bras!
Let ME know:
How do you, friends, co-workers or loved ones combat cancer naturally?
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