It’s Not October Anymore, But Breast Cancer Still Matters

It’s Not October Anymore, But Breast Cancer Still Matters

Each month brings awareness to a specific illness, but that should not be the only time we are recognizing these illnesses.
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It’s not October anymore, but breast cancer still matters

Each month brings awareness to a specific illness. But, that should not be the only month we are recognizing these illnesses. These illnesses affect more people then you may think, and many emotions may come to mind.

Each day, more people are diagnosed with one of these illnesses. You may never truly realize how bad it is... until it happens to you or your family.

On November 10, 2015, is when I truly understood.

I can remember sitting down with my mother, sister, dad and grandmother after my mom had come home from the hospital after a long day of surgery. Little did I know, the surgery was the first step she had to take after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

I will never forget hearing the words “I have breast cancer”, coming out of my mom’s mouth.

That was the worst moment of my life. I was confused, devastated, scared and shocked.

That is something I never wanted or expected to hear coming from my mother.

I had many questions and I wanted to know the answers to all of them, because I was terrified.

My mom informed us that luckily, she was one of the luckier ones and the doctors caught it earlier than most do. She told us that she was going to be undergoing 8 weeks of radiation starting after Christmas. To be completely honest, I didn’t know what radiation really was and I was concerned; hearing that my mom was going to have to go through this every day.

After researching everything I needed to know about Breast Cancer, I found out what radiation was going to be like, and how I could really help my mom.

My family knew we really needed to step up to the plate and be there to support our mom. We needed to be there for her, just like she had always been there for us.

My dad had been her rock through it all, he really kept her together and helped her keep strong.

Along with my sister and I, who continued to help out around the house, and tried cooking dinner (even though it wasn’t nearly as good as her cooking), and we were always there for her and make sure she had everything she needed.

Each week, my sister and I would pick a day and go surprise my mom at radiation with flowers, a card or anything that we knew would cheer her up. We loved surprising her, and she loved when we went and sat with her until she was done.

One thing that stood out to me throughout the two months of radiation was that my mom was strong through the whole thing, and she really set an amazing example for my sister and I. Not once, did I see her give up, or say anything negative. She was so positive in such a negative situation, which showed how strong she is. She never gave up and continued on with her everyday life, went to work, and continued to care for us, no matter how she was feeling that day. My mom is truly my inspiration and I will always look up to her. She taught me that whenever things get tough, you don’t give up and you fight harder.

On February 16, 2016, after 8 long weeks of radiation, my mom’s last day of radiation came around. That is one day I will truly never forget. My sister, dad and I went with my mom for her final radiation and waited for her to be done. Seeing her walking out of radiation for the last time really brought tears to our eyes. My mom did it, she is a Breast Cancer survivor. We had our family over for dinner that night to celebrate, which meant so much to us. Throughout this process, we have learned one really important thing. We learned to appreciate the little things in life.

Although my family was faced with this terrible thing, we learned that good things do come out of every negative thing.

The good things that came out of this were that we have learned to not take things for granted, and we learned to appreciate the little things. It is nice when my family sits together at dinner, and often times I just sit back and smile and realize how much I appreciate my family and the wonderful meal that my mom prepares. This is something that is extremely important to realize in everyday life. There are so many things to be grateful for every day, you just need to sit back and realize that.

After my mom was officially a breast cancer survivor, we did not stop recognizing and bringing awareness to Breast Cancer.

In April of 2016, I started the group “Team Tanya” in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Boston, MA. I wanted to give back, and also help all of the people who are affected by this, just like my mom.

I began to advertise my team that I dedicated to my mom, a breast cancer survivor. We were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from family members, friends, and people in our community.

We started “Team Tanya” in April with just my mom, my dad, my sister and I with $100 raised towards this event. By the time the event came on October 2, 2016 we had over 30 walkers and were ranked #12 out of #650 teams for raising over $9,000.

Participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk was one of the best things I have ever done. Seeing everyone supporting my mom in “Team Tanya” t-shirts and just having everyone walking with us, supporting us, was truly amazing.

I loved seeing all of the people who participated in this event and seeing everyone in their team shirts supporting their loved ones. This event is truly amazing, and I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this.

The 2016 walk was successful, so we participated again in October of 2017. This year was just as amazing, and we are extremely grateful for our family and friends for once again joining us this year.

Walking across the finish line with my mom is something I will never forget. All of the emotions come to you all at once, right as you are crossing the finish line. That is when things really hit you. That is when I realized how lucky I am to have my mom to cross the finish line with me. My family and I are extremely lucky, along with all of the other groups who participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.

For all of you who are diagnosed with these terrible illnesses, please be strong. Keep fighting, you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself. You got this!!

One thing my mom always said to me was “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.” I will always remember that quote, and I know when things get rough, I can get through it. And this goes for anyone else who might be experiencing these feelings.

I truly am grateful for my mom, a Breast Cancer survivor.

I love you always, Mom.

Cover Image Credit: Elizabeth Lincoln

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Poetry On Odyssey: A "Break" At Work

Breaks at work aren't always what you think.

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There are times during work where the stars align, and I'm right in their sights to get supremely screwed over. If things get slow and quiet enough, and I've just finished something I've been focusing all of my energy on, something...happens.

I break.

I don't know if I would call it a panic attack, since it's less fear of dying and more sudden hyper-awareness and inability to deal with anything, but it sucks all the same. It completely swallows me into a dark pit of brokenness.

One of the things I do to try grounding myself is messaging those close to me. I structured this poem similar to what one of those conversations was like. During all of the edits, I decided to keep it mostly short and disconnected because that's exactly how I feel during these moments—disconnected and unable to keep a coherent thought.

I hope you never have to experience something like this; I hope this poem gives all you need to know about what these "breaks" are like.


Break at work, everything to think about
Chores, writing, apartment
Chores, writing, apartment

Can't do any of it
Can't move
Can't hear

Everything
Too
Much

Panic attack?
Don't know
Not good

Bathroom? Fresh air?
Not possible
Can't move

Breathe?
Bra too tight
Suffocating

Deep breath anyway
Ignore the constricting
Actually focus on it

Water?
Cold and hurts
Drink more anyway

Food?
Nauseous
Can't eat anyway

What do?
Don't know
Can't think

Cry?
Can't do
At work

Nails in palms, eyes shut tight
Focus on breathing exercises
Focus on chest pain

Focus
On
Pain

Deep breath in
Hold it
Slow breath out

Ignore how it stabs
Ignore the tightness
Focus on the rhythm

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Keep eyes shut
Until breathing
Is stable

Open eyes
Blink because it's bright
Inhale, exhale, breathe

Hear the quiet of work
Everyone doing their own thing
Oblivious to what just happened

See the sharpness of screen
Blink it into focus to see
Everything I have accomplished

Drink some more water
It's necessary, it's good
Not cold, not hurting, just soothing

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Breathe in relief, it's over now
The world has returned
To what it ought to be

Whatever it was
That break
Was not a break.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-light-bulb-bulb-heat-40889/

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