Saturday, October 23, 2010

Save the Ta Tas, Bare the Bodice, Preserve the Cleavage: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month. I'm sure I don't have to remind many of you of that fact. It's something that I, of course, think about every year. Just like millions of other women. But nothing hits home so much as when you've suffered from breast cancer in your family.

I was 28 years old and very pregnant with my second child, my son. It was a couple of days before spring break (I was a teacher at the time) when I got the call from my parents. I can't remember now whether it was my Mom or my Dad calling. All I remember were the words, "breast cancer" and "surgery on Saturday." It was that quick. And it was hard. My Mom was 48.

How fortunate that I had the next week off for spring break. I took the remainder of that and got ready to drive to my parents. Mom had a radical mastectomy and I stayed with her for the week. The year was 1985.

It was a long year for her, that next year. Emotional ups and downs, physical pain and dealing with the loss of part of her body. I know she suffered in many, many ways. More than any of us will likely know. And I know that when the going got tough, and she would tell you this today, the thing that got her through was the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

It's 2010. My mother is a survivor. And I, and my family, thank God each and every day she is still with us. She, and the doctors, acted fast. It was tough. And it worked.

Last summer I had a breast biopsy. Something funky that came up in the mammogram. Turned out to be a pesky fibroid. Still, I need to keep on top of it. Yesterday, I made my appointment for my annual mammogram.

Please, you do the same. Early detection is important. Stay on top of it. It's so easy to let things slide. But don't. Do it for you, and tell your daughters. Save the ta tas. We romance authors love cleavage!


I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for
Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN
( The book includes Diana's experiences, reflections,
poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to
express their own personal stories. A survivor of both breast cancer and
multiple myeloma, Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin--in that
it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.
Diana, the author of eight books, spent 25 years as a medical and self-help
writer before turning to poetry and memoir. She teaches creative journaling
and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
If you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Healing
with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey. To read Diana's post about breast
cancer and a list of other blogs participating in Diana's Blanket Tour visit
The Muffin.

Please visit Diana Rabb's web site at