I've seen breast cancer try to beat generations of women in my family. My mother. Two of her sisters. My grandmother. All were robbed of some or all of their breasts. All faced their mortality much too early, and came out fighting. All of them beat cancer by fighting it tooth and nail, fighting like girls. Last night I read a post on Stacy's blog about the strength of women as they fight breast cancer. And it's true. We are strong. We do fight like girls.
- We march.
- We give.
- We spread clever Facebook campaigns.
- We are vigilant.
- And when the time comes for some of us to fight breast cancer, we rise to the challenge. Treatment continues to improve along with survival rates.
I carry a kernel of fear inside me that flares up in the shower every morning, as I wonder if today will be the day that I first feel that foreign lump, if today will be the day to face my legacy of breast cancer. The fear flares up again when my daughters ask me when their breast will come, and all I can do is imagine their perfect bodies ravaged with puckered scars.
I should face my fear, be strong, learn whether I carry the BRCA gene, whether it was the cause of our family's bad luck. One blood test and I could lessen the anxiety and take steps to banish breast cancer from my life and better prepare my daughters for their legacy. I could. I should. But I don't.
I take the doctors' pamphlets, thank them for their advice, and walk out into the sunshine with the fear gnawing my gut. The time might come for me to be strong, to take the poisons, to lose my hair, and my breasts, and say my goodbyes just in case. But until that time, I'll continue to be weak and hide, too scared to consider my legacy, too scared to know, too scared to fight like a girl.
On her personal blog, Chefdruck Musings, Vanessa prefers to celebrate her passion for food, family and travel instead of her fears. Get inspired by her recipes and funny stories about her minivan and her family!