October is here again and it is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. This awareness takes the form of educating the masses, in particular women on the need to have constant checks, signs and symptoms of the disease, where to get help, the resources available, what other countries are doing and the sharing of statistics in terms of how many women are sick, undergoing treatment or succumb to it.
While almost everyone focuses of telling women how important it is to check their breasts, I would like to focus here on when the disease takes its toll on people we know, our loved ones, friends, colleagues or those we simply read about. I know the strain an illness takes on finances, relationships, businesses, careers, families and friendships. Have we ever considered supporting families or individuals going through the roller coast of emotions exacerbated by breast cancer? Do we all realise that there is the other side apart from going for checks, feeling for lumps, marching in solidarity or wearing the pink ribbon? The side of the lump on the breast; the side of a positive mammogram; the side where chemotherapy has to begin immediately; the side with adverse side effects from the chemo where one loses hair and perpetual sickness; the side where dignity is lost because one becomes totally dependent from incapacitation.
It is a time of uncertainty—when a cheer is portrayed even as the doctor’s report highlights hopelessness. Every visit to the doctors is accompanied with crossed fingers and faith for those who believe— awaiting good news and not to be told that it has spread or the option of mastectomy. And then comes the mastectomy or any other relevant surgery to treat breast cancer— have we ever really put ourselves in these shoes?
For me, it’s not always about surviving cancer that we win the battle. It’s about how we fight that a real winner is determined. It starts from the moment of diagnosis and zeal to fight the cancer that a winner is born. The procedures that follow thereafter graduates the fighter to different battle ranks just like the lieutenants, army commanders and generals. It is about wearing that brave face for families, friends and colleagues and telling them all is where that a winner takes the mantle at the highest place on the podium. It is walking down an uncertain road with a cheer, smile, wearing make-up and looking forward to yet another day to give that cancer your best shot. That is winning.
I do not forget families who equally fall sick when a loved one does. That is what I call battle allies. For all those who have fought breast cancer, are fighting or may find themselves along this path, you are not alone. We stand with you. You are the real champions and we stand for all of you. You have won even as you lie on that bed. Cancer will never win no matter what. If it was that clever, you would not still be here, even as you undergo the chemo. We applaud you. It’s all in the fight—not otherwise!